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New Mandala Gardens open at Dalton E Tucker school

Last week the Dalton E Tucker family proudly opened their outside garden at the school. The Ace Foundation “Madeline Joell Nest Egg” donated the funds toward this special project. Working together with Unitopia Landscaping together with the Port Royal Golf Course who donated their time to maintain the area.

Ms Dean the Principal of Dalton E Tucker who lead the project, told us about the Mandala Sensory Garden: “This ceremony jump starts our day of beautifying our school grounds. Our new Mandala Sensory Garden was a vision of mine after walking up and down this walkways and looking at a patch of grass with four olivewood trees. My vision was to transform this space into an area where students could learn and interact with their environment. All subjects can be taught within our garden. Math — symmetry lesson, fraction lesson, measurement lesson, Graphs, addition etc. Science- Plants endemic and native, animals, force and motion, water cycle, gravity, the senses, habitats, sound, etc. English - Writing, reading and poetry lesson etc. Social Studies — communities and caring for our environments.“

The Mandala Sensory Garden Proposal gives detail of what it is all about:

“UTOPIA (Sustainable Agriculture and Edible Landscape Consultants) proposes to create a Mandala Sensory Garden in the courtyard of the Dalton E Tucker Primary School, to provide access to a beautiful, clean and green outdoor space within the school building intended to help connect students with nature, encourage respect for the environment and improve the aesthetics of the school grounds.

“It is an ancient belief that creating Mandalas help to stabilise, integrate, and reorder inner life. We at UTOPIA present the Mandala Sensory Garden with hopes that it be used as a spiritual teaching tool, for establishing a sacred space for learning and reflection, and as a support to the Dalton E Tucker education programme utilising a natural environment.”

The general objective is to provide access to a beautiful, clean and green outdoor space within the school building in an underutilised area, to help connect students with nature, encourage respect for the environment and improve the aesthetics of the school grounds.

“The proposed design is a Mandala Sensory Garden. The word Mandala has its origins in Sanskrit and means circle. It is a spiritual symbol used by many ancient cultures to represent universal balance and harmony and is believed that the presence of this sacred shape allows these harmonic attributes to flow through the space that it is used in.

“It contains the five elements of life within its design, embodied in the various materials used in its construction:

“Water — A water fountain is the central focal point which symbolises tranquility and represents the water element of life. This feature gives the sensory garden its soothing natural sound and meditative qualities. It is central in the design as a constant reminder of water's central role in balancing and sustaining life on Earth.

“Fire — The plants in the four circular planter beds surrounding the water feature along with the grassed pathways surrounding the gardens and the Olivewood trees are a direct manifestation of the essence of the sun. Together they symbolise the element of fire in the Mandala Sensory Reading Garden. The circular garden beds planted with seasonal flowering plants add colours and scents to the outdoor space inviting the senses of smells and sight to the courtyard.

“Earth — Gravelled seating area under the mature Olivewood trees symbolise the earth/mineral element of life, and add to the textural aspects of the sensory garden. The gravel used is locally obtained limestone rock with traces of quartz crystal minerals from Bermuda's bedrock. This gives the sensory garden a magical subtle twinkle at night and harnesses the earth's energy in its crystalline structures.

“Wind — Wind chimes are to be hung on the rafters that border the garden and corridors to create awareness of the winds constant presence in life. They will additionally add soothing sounds into the courtyard and classroom spaces.

“Ether — The very design of a Mandala Garden is to allow for the ethereal, spiritual essence to flow through its form in order to bring balance and harmony to the area where used. We added a seating area around the central water feature that can be used for meditation and reflection with the students to encourage them to connect with their essence and to remind them of their God given ethereal essence.

Neat and tidy: Dalton E Tucker School's new Mandala Zen Garden. (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published October 10, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 09, 2013 at 4:15 pm)

New Mandala Gardens open at Dalton E Tucker school

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