Saturday, November 28, 2020

Willow Wonder at Brannoxtown CNS

Wellie boots, coats and clipboards were the order of the day, when children at Brannoxtown CNS worked with Beth Murphy to create a beautiful willow hut for our new school garden, last week, writes Sarah Fitzpatrick, Principal of Brannoxtown CNS. This school-wide project brought children of all ages together, from four to 12! 

The willow hut was funded by our Creative Schools grant; it’s part of our plan to create more interactive play spaces at Brannoxtown CNS. Over the two days of construction, children developed and applied maths, language and science learning, as well as physical skills!

All children studied maps and map coordinates before and during construction. With Beth’s guidance, they decided our willow hut should face south. Four types of willow were used for the hut, one for each season. To begin, using their knowledge of circles and perimeter, children found the centre point for the hut, measured the radius and used flour to mark out the circumference of the hut. 

Older children learned that willow has a natural rooting hormone under the bark, salicylic acid and that two-year old willow stems were best for planting. Children used their knowledge of measures to plant each willow stem 30cm deep. From first class upwards, children applied their knowledge of procedural writing (November’s Writing Workshop focus) to document the steps involved in creating the hut. Children decided to also create an arch (Archie) to keep the hut (Hutty) company!

Our hands-on experience learning and creating with Beth, rounded off a great two-weeks at Brannoxtown CNS. Parents of the school were instrumental in leading our celebration of Origami Day (Yuki Kobayashi) and Thanksgiving (Alyssa Fought) earlier this month. Children from 3rd to 6th will continue to learn heritage craft skills with Beth in December, via video and zoom. Beth will send the willow kits beforehand and children will be guided (virtually) by Beth to create willow star Christmas decorations—keepsakes of their great experience learning willow weaving skills at Brannoxtown CNS.

More information on Beth Murphy’s extraordinary work is available on Facebook: @willownwattle (Willow Wonder). Information on enrolment at Brannoxtown CNS is here

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