A Celtic Garden

August 30, 2017

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A Celtic Garden was developed by six primary schools in County Louth within their local communities. Each primary school developed a name for their Celtic themed garden and a motto for their project. A public event, was created by each school to celebrate the Celtic season of Bealtaine (connected to the summer growing season).

The children generated festivity through music, drama, dance, poetry, and colourful processions. Local residents, teachers and family members were in attendance and welcomed the addition of a new community garden. Herbal teas, foraged food and traditional Irish dishes were also prepared and the students devised art and educational activities for their guests. The environmental aspect of the project was inspired by Irish garden designer Mary Reynolds and her book The Garden Awakening: Designs to Nurture Our Land and Ourselves. 

Mary Reynolds, A Garden for Ceremony

“Create a garden that is alive with the energy and exuberance of nature…With this loving and mutually respectful relationship, you will feel forever supported, grounded and safe…My method of creating a powerfully conscious garden simply suggests using some kind of ceremony to focus your feelings and intentions into a particular form and direction. You can make up your own ritual, as long as you believe it works. Belief is the key.”

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The Art of Trees

May 11, 2015

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Photos: Scoil Bhride NS (Dunleer), Tree Procession and Tree Oaths Artwork by students of Scoil Naomh (Muchgrange)

Observing trees and nature can inspire children’s art and creativity. Poetry, song, dance, costumes, drawing, painting and tree dressing all emerge from a feeling of being connected to the natural world. Celebrating trees as part of a procession or special gathering, extends children’s energy and spirit into the larger community. Local residents admire the work of children seeking to make their environments special for everyone. It is the combination of trees, plants and creativity that make these gardens enchanting and engaging. 

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Photo: St. Peter’s National School, Tree Costumes (Dromiskin)

Children can create tree gardens as dreaming places for the hearts and minds of local communities. Their collective imagination can express the presence and energy of trees within the natural environment, and within the activities of daily life. Gardens created by children are filled with wishes, good intentions and joyful celebration. They accompany the lives of local people as acts of goodwill.

Children’s tree gardens are pubic expressions of art making that help people of all ages connect with the art of nature. 

“We learn to impersonate the way nature creates- spontaneously and in relationship. We develop facility with nature’s pattern language. We create and share art in the form of stories, myths, movements, songs and images that give colour, form and life to transformative experiences with the living world. We experience nature as alive with an expression all its own” 

(Reference: Bringing Art to Life: Creative Nature Education for Educators by Lisa Lipsett, http://www.creativebynature.org)

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Photo: The Art of Baking, Tree Recipes by St. Francis NS, (Blackrock)

Why is Art Important?

1. It’s been proven that early exposure to visual art, music, or drama promotes cognitive activity. 

2. Art helps children understand other subjects more clearly—from math and science, to language arts and geography.

3. Art nurtures inventiveness as it engages children in a process that aids in the development of self-esteem, self-discipline, cooperation, and self-motivation.

4. Participating in art activities helps children to gain the tools necessary for understanding human experience, adapting to and respecting others’ ways of working and thinking, developing creative problem-solving skills, and communicating thoughts and ideas in a variety of ways. (Reference http://www.kinderart.com, “Why is Art Education Important”)

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Photos: Observational Tree Painting, St. Paul’s NS, (Walshestown) and Ardaghy NS, (Omeath) Playground Orchard Planting Event