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Psalm 23 garden at Hanley Swan Primary School

Published: 27th September 2021

Hanley Swan's psalm 23 gardenThe Bible Society has recently exhibited a Psalm 23 garden at the Chelsea Flower Show and has been encouraging others to think about creating their own community garden based around the famous psalm (

The Open the Book Team from Hanley Swan and Welland Churches spoke to their local schools and Hanley Swan CE Primary took up the challenge, with all pupils getting involved in turning an unused area of the school’s field into a space where children and go, sit and reflect.hanley swan and welland open the book team

Deputy Head, Paul Bundy, has led on the project at the school. He said: “The Open the Book Team have been fantastic over many years and have continued to support us with videos throughout the pandemic. When the idea of a garden was mentioned, we were delighted to be able to support them for a change. It was also a really lovely project for the children and something that the whole school could get involved in.”

Paul took the idea to the children in years 5 and 6 (9 – 11-year-olds) to begin with. They talked through Psalm 23 and the children were asked for ideas to create the garden. They then used the summer term to do the work themselves.

cross in psalm 23 garden“The class found a piece of unused ground at the back of the church, which was between our forest school area and where we keep beehives for some of the year. It was completely overgrown and full of brambles, but the children thought it could be a perfect space – one of the most peaceful and tranquil parts of the school.”

The children worked in groups to come up with the garden – they had no budget but instead used items which they found around the school or brought from home. Paul brought in some tools and taught the children how to use them correctly and they made eco bricks and created benches from wood pallets.

sheep & flower in the garden“As the garden started to become a reality, we involved the younger children. Years 3 and 4 (age 7 – 9) reflected on spaces where they like to go to be quiet as well as the idea of God as a shepherd. They created sheep to go into the green pastures of the garden. With Reception and years 1 and 2 (age 4 – 7) we talked about God’s love and the fact that however you feel, God is there to love you. They all created flowers which incorporated hearts to place in the garden.”

The garden was opened last week with the Open the Book team attending a ceremony on the field. It was the first occasion when the whole school had come together and the Open the Book Team were able to visit. Psalm 23 was read by one of the children, the Revd Linda Bedford offered a reflection, the Open the Book team led a poem with actions and everyone sang ‘He’s got the whole world in His hands’. Paul also read a prayer based on ‘we’re going on a bear hunt’.

open the book team with pupils from Hanley Swan primaryHe concluded: “It’s been a brilliant opportunity to reflect on Psalm 23. It’s a psalm that everyone knows and is valuable to many people throughout their life, so it’s important that a new generation has the chance to learn it. All our classes were able to get something from it and pick something out which is relevant to them in their lives. We help the children to be able to reflect and pray anywhere, but the Psalm 23 garden is a special area where they can go to think about God or simply to sit and reflect.”

The Open the Book Team were joined by Hanley Swan pupils Brooke (Year 6), Chloe (Year 4), Tobias (Year 2) and Jacob (Reception) for the official opening photo! 

Read Paul Bundy's prayer based around Psalm 23 - We're Going on a Prayer Hunt! 

Page last updated: Thursday 30th September 2021 3:23 PM

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