Gorokan Public School has been crowned Wyong District Garden Competition’s best school garden for 2020.
Regular entrants in the competition, this is Gorokan PS’s inaugural win and it’s a double whammy, with the school taking out first place in both the School Culinary Garden and Schools and Colleges categories.
Principal, Jesmond Zammit, said the school picked up the wins for its Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden (SAKG) program offering and its multifaceted green spaces.
“We have been working very hard to implement and develop the SAKG program for a number of years and that of course included a fully functioning culinary garden, so we felt well placed to enter that category in the competition,” Zammit explained.
Known for developing an appreciation for and understanding of sustainability in the kitchen, SAKG is also helping schools impart the important life skill of cooking, with life skills and other holistic learning and development opportunities among the core uses of specialised green spaces at Gorokan PS.
These spaces include an Aboriginal garden, frog pond, greenhouse, orchard, veggie patch, chicken coop and native beehive, and according to Zammit, they each provide something unique to students.
“They offer layers of diversity and I think that’s become something very special and unique to our school, from cultural awareness to scientific learning, sustainability and just plain outdoor fun,” he said.
As part of this offering, students are also able to explore their own interest and passion for all things green, with gardening a free play option during breaktimes, a move Zammit said was also contributing to the school’s emphasis on building responsible, skilled and well rounded young people.
And with these wins now under their belt, Zammit is hopeful that green space will continue to be a source of pride and engagement for the school community.
“Gardens are the first point of visual contact for the community, so we strive to make sure they’re aesthetically pleasing at all levels.
“We want them to generate a sense of pride in our school and to help build a connection between our community and our land and these awards are hopefully just the beginning.
“When circumstances allow, we would love to welcome community members interested in learning more or volunteering in our gardens and to help develop our school pride and keep our gardens beautiful.
“There is still lots that we’d like to develop and enhance and hopefully these wonderful accolades will help contribute to that in some way,” Zammit said.