The Peace Orchard in the school curriculum
The Coventry Peace Orchard is a place of learning, commemoration, therapy and peace. The ideas below are from Cardinal Newman Catholic secondary school, which makes regular use of the Orchard for practical curriculum activities.
Four on-site information panels provide fascinating insights into:
- The story of the Peace Orchard
- The Battle for Normandy
- The Wildlife of the Orchard
- Managing the Orchard.
QR codes on each panel link to information on the Peace Orchard web site.
There is a car park just off Tamworth Road opposite the junction with Sandpits Lane.
For enquiries and permissions about activities at the Peace Orchard please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Peace Orchard can inspire creative, narrative and descriptive writing and poetry. Students have visited the Orchard to enhance their understanding of the Romantic Movement and how natural settings have inspired famous poets such as Wordsworth and Keats.
Simple calculations are used when designing and creating wildlife habitats. Students have measured the distance between trees, bulbs and wildflowers to calculate plant densities and plot the location of new or replacement planting.
Science & environmental education
Soil, vegetation and wildlife can be used for science projects, for example to identify, count and record plant or insect species. The on-site panels include a site map of the native apple species and information about typical insects, plants and animals that can be found. Schools are invited to get in touch about tree, bulb and wildflowers planting and site management activities.
The Peace Orchard has been used as an area of peace and tranquillity and to inspire quiet reflection, prayer and meditation. It can be used for small group prayers or for more formal acts of worship.
The Peace Orchard was inspired by the experiences of D-Day veteran Dennis Davison (1923-2019), who achieved his dream of establishing a permanent legacy to the Battle of Normandy, which was fought partly in the apple orchards of Normandy and helped turn the tide of the 2nd World War. Dennis’s story brings alive the facts of 20th century history.
As well as flora and fauna, the Orchard and Coundon Hall Park can be used to explore topography, urbanisation, orienteering, landscape, the impact of human activity and sustainability. The Peace Orchard is also on the Cardinal Newman School Peace Trail.
Supervised by Coventry City Council’s Park Rangers, Cardinal Newman students have designed and built rustic seats, benches, trail disks, signs, plaques, bug hotels, bird and bat boxes for the Peace Orchard. These opportunities are available to all Coventry schools.
Using the school’s laser etching machine, Cardinal Newman students have created an apple sculpture that stands at the main entrance to the Orchard. An ‘Art in the Orchard’ project for City of Culture 2021 invites schools to submit ideas for temporary, permanent or performance pieces. Or students can simply draw what they see – and there is plenty to inspire.
The Peace Orchard offers some stunning backdrops. Cardinal Newman students performed Midsummer Night’s Dream to a small invited audience on a warm summer’s evening in 2019.
To mark the D-Day anniversaries, the Peace Orchard played host to Peace Picnics on 6th June 2018 and 2019, including performances by musicians, dancers and singers from Cardinal Newman school and elsewhere. In summer 2019, the Orchard hosted a Bands in the Park concert.
The benefits of outdoor exercise and being close to nature for physical and mental health and concentration are widely acknowledged. The Peace Orchard’s parkland location adjoining Coundon Wedge makes it ideal for green gym, walking, running or mindfulness activities.
We welcome the contribution of young minds to help bring the Peace Orchard into the classroom or to personal devices. The Peace Orchard website prepares pupils to get the most out of visits and the QR codes keep them connected while they are there. We would love to see photographs and short films taken by pupils, and may ask for your permission to add some to the web site.
The benefits of a change of scenery and contact with nature can shift the learning outlook for some pupils. The Peace Orchard is a calm natural environment where SEND pupils can achieve many of their learning outcomes in an outdoor classroom environment.
The Peace Orchard can help support learners in challenging circumstances. Pupils who struggle in a classroom can flourish outdoors. The City Council Park Rangers are skilled at arranging outdoor activities that get the best out of pupils in an outdoor environment that positively impacts their and performance in the classroom. The rewards can often last beyond their school years.