Primary School Incursions Boost Wellbeing Through Creative Nature Play
Students are introduced to the health and wellbeing benefits of indoor plants through the creative activity of making their own Kokedama.
Kokedama, a form of Japanese bonsai, replace a traditional planter pot with a spherical ball of soil wrapped in moss and string.
Following the workshop, the individual plantings are then assembled to create a lush indoor garden in the classroom that the students care for during the school year.
Maintenance is a simple weekly watering that students can look forward to and are responsible for.
Teacher and student feedback from the 2019 program was incredibly positive says Wattlebird Eco Founder, Hayley Witt.
Having made their kokedamas by hand, students feel a strong sense of caring and affection for their plants which bodes well for continuing to care for them.
The workshop challenges students both creatively and physically, which opens a conversation about having a growth mindset. Students are responsible for the care of their plant and enjoy tracking the growth or changes in their plant over time.
Responses provided by participants in the program include, ‘It helps us to calm down and learn how to be responsible’ and ‘I’ve learned that kokedamas are made with lots of hard work and that they help to clean the air in a small space, they also help people who are easily distracted get calm and focused’.
Biophilia is an emerging term used to describe humans’ innate affinity with nature and all living things.
Working with this biophilic design philosophy, one of the key design goals of Wattlebird Eco is creating an authentic and consistent connection with nature while indoors.
The Kokedama Classrooms program addresses a scarcity of indoor plants in primary school classrooms.
Learning environments should foster a relaxed and positive state of mind, says Ms Witt.
With as much as 90% of time spent indoors, Ms Witt is passionate about maintaining connectivity with nature once kids head indoors.
Simply, having indoor plants in classrooms help students to feel calm, happy and relaxed.
The flow on effect of that is a calmer classroom, improved attentiveness, behaviour, and ultimately academic performance.
In 2009 the research paper Plants in the Classroom Can Improve Student Performance (Daly, Burchett and Torpy) quantified the improved performance by 10-14% of students in Brisbane classrooms as a direct result of installing potted indoor plants in the classrooms of students in Years 6 & 7.
Importantly, the positive effects of plants in classrooms support both students and teachers.
With a rise in stress-related diseases such as anxiety and depression across any demographic, it seems more timely than ever to find ways to foil the impacts of our modern world.
Kokedama Classrooms aligns with wellbeing and nature play objectives, as well as direct curriculum links into conservation studies, arts, HPE, procedural writing, critical and creative thinking, and science.
Following up a successful program in 2019, Kokedama Classrooms incursions are now available for school bookings Brisbane-wide. Conducted during school terms and school holidays, bookings can be made by enquiring through the Wattlebird Eco website: www. wattlebirdecointeriors.com.au
Options are available to suit the varying needs of schools and vacation care programs, including ‘teacher as facilitator’ PD training or fully facilitated workshops. Discounts available for school-wide bookings. Longer workshops available for vacation care bookings. Kids parties and adult workshops are available for groups of 10 and over.