Children at School

Space to be

Japanese Garden

Enclosed behind a laurel hedge is the Japanese Garden. It is a space where our students can practice quiet reflection during break as well as learning techniques in mindfulness during designated lesson time. Staff and students use this area to consolidate the PHSEE curriculum. Influenced by the Shibumi principles, this tranquil space lies at the heart of the Manor Lodge grounds. Built by parent and staff volunteers, it is a testament to our school philosophy of enabling our students to appreciate the value of being in the moment without looking back at the past or worrying about the future. In focusing on the present moment our students are able to create a feeling of calm and balance.



What is Space To Be

Space to Be is a concept for securing the health and well-being of children by creating an outdoor garden based on Japanese principles to enable the teaching of mindfulness, PHSEE and key concepts to facilitate positive growth mindset.

Our Vision

‘One in ten young people has some form of diagnosable mental health condition and we know that children with a mental health problem face unequal chances in their lives, particularly where childhood mental health issues continue into adulthood.
We know that half of all mental health conditions are established before the age of fourteen, and we know that early intervention can prevent problems escalating and have major societal benefits.’

Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision:  A Green Paper December 2017

Our aim is to create physical spaces where students develop key concepts that help meet their well-being needs.

We will endeavour to create a learning environment that makes it simple to integrate traditional learning with an outdoor space.

We aspire to create a community to challenge and support each other as peers and collaborators to make a real difference to children.

Benefits of Space To Be

The aim of the Manor Lodge Garden is to give the students, parents and staff an outdoor space where we can remain in the present and experience life through our senses to allow us the opportunity to be meditative and tranquil.

Isabel: To me the Japanese Garden is a place where any bad thoughts go away and also it is a place where I can be calm and balanced.

Nitish: This calm place helps me to stop thinking about my anxieties. I like the plants and the trees. This garden helps me to concentrate and focus on my tasks. Breathing in makes me calm and peaceful and the sound of the wind goes into my ears. It is a nice place to go for peace and quiet.

Olivia: The Japanese Garden is great because it keeps you calm and relaxed and if you are stressed it helps you calm down. You just need to sit down in the Japanese Garden and you unwind straight away.

Anahi: The Japanese Garden was an extraordinary idea. It is a serene and tranquil place where you can take your mind off worries and relax. It has a gushing, vivid blue waterfall, towering, green trees topped with green domes, luscious, fresh grass and exotic, colourful plants.

Sharad: The Japanese Garden means a lot to me. It is just like a majestic park. It is always quiet – relaxing, so when I feel like I need to have some time to myself the Japanese Garden is perfect. As for lessons, thoughts locked in my head can be unlocked and released. Problems can be dealt with easily. The garden has lots of meanings to it. I love its lush grass and the garden’s gravel. It makes it a relaxing place.

Creating your Space To Be

Our ultimate goal is to support other schools to create a Space to Be garden so that they too can address the health and well-being of their students using an outdoor space. Our long-term objective is to raise funds to help schools less fortunate than ours and to create a community of schools that follow the Space to Be ethos.

We will be responsible for bringing together advice on design, landscaping/planting and coordination of labour. Space to Be will help schools to create a beautiful, aesthetic garden that reflects their unique character and well-being needs.

By coordinating and liaising with the Parent body, Staff and wider community we will assist in ensuring that the principle objective of improving the health and well-being of the students becomes the overarching aim of the school.

We will offer training and support to help teachers plan out their academic activity in a way that makes use of the garden a teaching tool.

We will encourage each school community to participate in the physical building and fund raising to create their very own Space to Be.

Space To Be – Contact

Manor Lodge School
Rectory Lane, Ridge Hill

Contact:- Lynne Barnett, Head of Outdoor Learning

Tel: 01707 642424




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