The Land is a precious part of The Iona School experience. Twice yearly, the whole school spends 3 days on the Land, working the allotments, pruning trees, harvesting fruit, general tidying up and of course playing, climbing trees and building dens. Parts of The Land have been deliberately kept wild so that the children can experience untamed nature.
Parents of the school are encouraged to enjoy this space by gathering together on weekends in the milder months to work the Land and sow seeds. We hold our St John’s Fire festival here as well as some other outdoor events in our amphitheatre such as storytelling, theatre performances and our heartwarming Lantern Festival. Families are also welcome to use the Land for childrens’ birthday parties and other celebratory occasions, for a small donation towards the development of the school fund.
Further information about the Land Days
Twice each year, at St John’s and Michaelmas, the school holds what are known as “Land days”. These are three consecutive days during which class age children spend the whole day outside; kindergarten children usually go back for lunch and for the rest of the day.
All children and teachers meet for the beginning of the day in the story circle, where classes share songs and poems that they have been working on. There are also songs that all the class children can sing together. These have been practised in the singing classes with Adrian Armstrong.
After this assembly the kindergarten children are taken to the meadow where they play for the morning. The class children join their groups and go to their first activity.
The pupils have been put into vertical groups by the class teachers. It is our experience that mixing the children from different classes to work and play together strengthens the social life of the school; it is one of the ingredients that helps create the Iona family. We observe the strengthening of friendships between children of different ages.
Each group goes to six different workshops in the course of three mornings; afternoons are given to games such as “Capture the Flag”.
The workshop activities are an assortment of activities that help with the upkeep of the land and garden as well as artistic/craft projects. Examples of recent projects are:
- Preparing beds for sowing and planting
- Hedge trimming
- Creating a bog area
- Helping with bricklaying for the base of the cob oven
- Making dream catchers
- Bubble blowing
- Making pictures with leaves, berries, flowers and twigs
- Weaving with willow
- Harvesting apples and pressing them for juice
- Creating a barefoot path
Such an undertaking could not be managed without the support of the parents who come along and work alongside the teachers and children. Clearly this also contributes wonderfully to the children’s experience of seeing parents and teachers cooperating to create an educational environment.
The Learning Land Project
The Project is focusing on creating outdoor workshops for teenagers and adults to engage in activities together, with the hope that younger families may be able to get involved as the project grows. These workshops are held on Iona School’s Land in the woodwork area.
The Learning Land Project is also working in partnership with Iona School to create new opportunities for the school children to learn practical skills outdoors.