The Bennett Story Garden
As a unique and innovative way to inspire young people to read, develop literacy skills and connect with nature, we have created a story garden within the grounds of the Jenyns Library at Wolverhampton Grammar School.
The Bennett Story Garden in memory of our much-loved colleague, Carrie Bennett, was opened by members of her family on 28th September 2023. Carrie was Director of Marketing and Communications at Wolverhampton Grammar School from 2014 to 2021. She sadly lost her battle against cancer just before Christmas 2022 at the age of 49.
We were delighted to welcome children’s author and friend of Carrie, Kate Innes, to the Opening. Kate led a creative writing workshop for students in Year 3 to inspire them to create a story themed around nature, Year 3 were also introduced to hedgehogs, owls, frogs and rabbits in a workshop with the Animal Man. By the end of the day, children left enthused to create their own stories and inspired to look at ways to make their own gardens more wildlife friendly.
Not only did Carrie lead an effective team, but she was also heavily involved in school life, running extra-curricular clubs to share her passion for debating, public speaking and gardening. The literary garden fittingly remembers her passion for reading, gardening and wellbeing, and was established by Mrs Rowley, Head Librarian, thanks to a generous grant from the Merchant Taylors' Foundation.
The aim of the Story Garden is to provide the WGS community with an outdoor space where visitors can immerse themselves in the world of literature. For students and staff who wish to read or enjoy time for quiet contemplation away from the hustle and bustle of everyday School life, the Bennett Story Garden will act as an extension of the Jenyns Library.
In a new gardening-based book club, children from Years 3 to Upper Sixth are working with Mrs Rowley to select plants, seeds and other features linked to children’s literature to be showcased in the garden.
This unique space incorporates a QR code system enabling staff, students and visitors to listen to book excerpts read by our students whilst visiting the garden. These can also be found on this web page.
Future plans include inviting local primary and secondary schools to visit the Bennett Story Garden for experiential workshops that bring reading for pleasure to life. A Just Giving page is running to seek further funding to enable us to purchase further elements for the garden, including sensory elements to support students with SEND or ECHP profiles.