Killisick Junior School children plant a ‘happiness’ tree in their local Killisick Park
- Posted on: November 21, 2022
- Partnership: Flying High Partnership
Children from Killisick Junior School in Arnold taking part in their ‘Youth Voice in Action Initiative’ at the school, have planted a new rowan tree in their local park.
The tree, children say, should be a place for the local community to be able to shelter and reflect, and find some happiness!
Sam Crew is a teaching assistant at the school, and she explained, “The idea of the tree originated with our Youth Voice in Action initiative working together with Jackie and Claire from Positively Empowered Kids Community Interest Company. The initiative was funded by the Jones Trust and the children were given a chance to come up with ideas about what they would like to see in school, and also in their community, and share those ideas with each
other. For example, we wanted more bins within the community and that has already happened. Also, the majority of children voted to plant a tree in Killisick Park. They wanted it to be a ‘happiness’ tree, so that when people are feeling sad, they can go and look at the tree and it makes them feel happy.” Sam says they are also planting daffodils around the tree and hope to have a plaque to explain its meaning.
The tree planting, voted for by the children, was made possible by Cllr Henry Wheeler who provided the school with a community grant via Gedling Borough Council.
Sam Crew said, “Children wanted a tree because we are very aware of our environment and how it is being destroyed. We are an eco-school; we carry out litter picking in the community and in fact our year 6 children are doing that today. We want the children to see that their ideas and actions can have a lasting effect.” Sam says the tree will become a lovely red colour when mature, with bright red berries in autumn.
Pupil Harry-Lee age 10 said the children will be caring for the tree to give it the best start. “We wanted a tree because they absorb carbon dioxide and give out oxygen which is good for the environment. We really want the tree to grow and survive because it means a lot to us. I will be showing my brother in year 3.”
Joining children to plant the tree were Jackie Wilson and Claire Clements of ‘Positively Empowered Kids CIC’, a social enterprise that empowers young peoples’ voice and unlocks the potential of children by creating a supportive culture, using an early intervention and prevention model, to boost mental health and wellbeing.
Jackie said, “The Youth Voice in Action uses a digital platform for young people to come up with ideas of how they can improve their school or community.
“They rate each other’s ideas to create priorities which can then be planned within the school or community. The tree planting was one of those ideas. They wanted a ‘happy’ tree in their community and the children’s voice was listened to. Their head teacher thought it was a great idea and children have taken part in making this happen from beginning to end.”
Claire Clements said the outcome demonstrates that children are thinking of ways to look after their school and community. “It’s about giving them pride in their community, and as they grow up, it continues to benefit future generations, helping them to take care of their environment, and knowing that they have played a part in that. The children are just incredible. When you step aside as teachers and ask children what they actually want, it’s usually simple and straightforward to implement, and actually the power of doing something like this for these children is really impactful.”
Teaching Assistant Sam Crew said, “We want to thank Jackie and Claire and also special thanks to Cllr Henry Wheeler for his support. He has been aware of the Youth Voice in
Action initiative from the beginning, and he has been kind enough to come into school so children could share their ideas with him. Cllr. Wheeler has supported us to plant the tree and also create a quiet area in the school and helped to get new bins in the community which is what the children asked for. We are also grateful to Gedling Borough Council who sent Rob and Michael to help us to find the perfect place to plant the tree. They have informed children of the best way to plant and care for the tree and they have been great at answering children’s questions today.”
Rosey Jones, age 10 said the Youth Voice in Action initiative has also helped children to create a quiet space within school for children to enjoy. She said, “The quiet area is a place where we can chill out and read, or if you need to calm down it’s a good place to do that. It gives you time to think for yourself! I use it to read because I am very into reading! We have books in there and benches and pillows. I think every school should have one like ours, and I think that it’s good that our school cares about mental health and wellbeing. It is important to have a quiet space because if a pupil is worried about something, or needs to be in a calm place, -they can go to the quiet area to do that.”
The new rowan tree is now in Killisick Park in Arnold and Killisick Junior School head teacher, Lindsay Clark said, “Our children know that they can make a difference, both now and for future generations to come. It is important that we listen to their ideas and support and encourage them to be caring champions within their school and their community. We are very proud of their achievements and hope the tree will provide a beautiful reminder that the children and staff at Killisick Junior School care and want to play a positive role in the community’s environment and wellbeing. We truly hope the happiness tree will thrive and provide a focal point for those ideas for many years to come.”