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Visit to Sligo Children Community Garden

Visit to Sligo Children Community Garden

I drove into a garden. I had no expectations, no idea what I would find. Traveling without expectations is great because you won’t be disappointed, you can only be amazed! As I turned around the corner, the space opened up and so many different things caught my attention.

There were two big greenhouses with open doors. Looking inside the greenhouse felt like looking inside a child’s imagination. Chaotic and organized all at the same time. Wonders everywhere, treasures in every corner. It was a kind of mess that makes sense when you connect each part of the room. A true inspiration for a curious child, for every child that’s granted an opportunity to discover the world from their own eyes.

Giant sunflowers, books, paint and paper on a table, comfy chairs, puppets, costumes… You can become anyone you want to be and do anything you want to do. An opportunity to become your true self.

Outside the greenhouses there was a pallet with hanging pots and pans, a hose, mugs, and an open space with soil and a green area. Having real items (instead of just toys) available for the child to play with, gives them a sense of trust and autonomy that will grow their self-worth and confidence. The only limit is their own safety.

There was also a wooden house with a toaster, plates, chairs… I am sure Goldilocks would love to join the kids when they are playing in it! There were forts built by the kids, a forest, benches made of wood and tree logs around a fireplace made of rocks and sticks. Kids can join Storytime by the fire. Real life, real experiences, sharing stories, making memories.

The spaces were clearly divided even though they were all over the place. Walking into each area would set the child on a different mission: a mission to build, cook, share, run, climb, find, think… You don’t need to tell them what to do, it is too obvious to them when they look at the space. It is based on their past experiences, needs and interests that they will decide what to do in each space.

We are here to guide them, we can set up activities, but they will always find their own way of doing things. It is when there is only one way of doing something that their creativity is being squeezed in order to fit someone else’s cup. That is not our job as role models. It was pure magic.

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