As part of Family Life’s ‘Map Your World’ program, a small group of 10 students at Tootgarook Primary School worked together to better understand their school environment and their place in it. Just a few sessions were held in person at the school, before transferring the program online during periods of home learning. Our amazing staff helped keep the program alive and engaging virtually during lockdown.
Many of the group struggled with anxiety and the chaotic loud spaces at primary school during recess and lunch. Together, the group decided to create a peaceful, quiet space. They wanted a place where small numbers of grade five and six students could sit quietly to read, have quiet conversations and make art together. A place to go if they were having a bad day, or just wanted a quiet spot to hang out.
Participants drew sketches of their vision and identified key elements that they wanted – cushions, a rug, a shelter, art materials and books. Together with a small grant from Mornington Peninsula Shire, their dream became a reality and The Zen Pond was created.
The ‘pond’ is a nod to Tootgarook’s onomatopoeic word meaning ‘land of the croaking frog’ and zen was the energy the students wanted to instill in their space for safety and wellbeing.
Programs like Creating Capable Communities help to identify opportunities for improvement in the community (led by the community). It has been a privilege working with these young people.