Pupils at a Church of Ireland school in south-west Donegal have raised around €2,000 for a new sensory garden by walking ‘around the island of Ireland’. The 3,710-kilometre journey was undertaken virtually and in stages – by walking 20 laps of the Kilbarron National School playground daily, and every Friday the Junior and Senior classes completed a 3-5km, socially-distanced walk around the local area.
A huge map of Ireland was painted on the school pitch – covering its length and breadth – to encourage and motivate the children, and each week the distance walked or run was marked on the map to help the children visualise their progress.
The virtual journey was not without incident, though. The children were ‘stuck’ in Limerick for nine weeks because of lockdown.
A sensory garden is a collection of plants and materials with different textures, shapes, colours, scents and heights, laid out in such a way as to stimulate the senses. For children with special needs, a sensory garden provides a safe and tactile environment to enjoy, touching, hearing, smelling and seeing the plants and natural materials. Sensory gardens can be therapeutic for everyone – offering a lovely place to escape to, to take time-out in and simply relax in, listening to flowing water or just feeling the leaves of plants.
The fundraiser was featured on the RTÉ children’s news programme, News2Day. You can see the report on the RTÉ Player by clicking the link below.