Most of us learn through books.
But at Loyang Primary School, the history of Singapore is told through their SG50 Garden.
Loyang Primary School, Meridian Primary School and CHIJ Our Lady of Good Counsel, won $5,000 each for their entries in the SG50 School Gardening Project, a community project of the Singapore Turf Club (STC) and The New Paper aimed at encouraging development and the use of school gardens in primary schools.
At the Loyang Primary School garden, flowers take on symbolic roles to represent Singapore's past.
Sunflowers represent our sunny island. Chrysanthemums represent the Japanese Occupation in World War II. The hibiscus, Malaysia's national flower, reminds us that Singapore was part of Malaysia from 1963 to 1965.
Areas were assigned to showcase Singapore's defence, transportation, education and development where prominent landmarks were placed.
Students also used recyclable items, like plastic bottles and metal caps to create iconic landmarks like the Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer.
Madam Koh Chia Wee, 40, teacher-in-charge of the school's SG50 garden and subject head for special projects, told The New Paper: "We hope this project not only provides pupils with the opportunity to experience gardening but also makes them more responsible as they take care of the plants."
Mr Eric Loh, 40, senior manager of corporate communications at STC and judge for this SG50 project said: "This project celebrates Singapore's 50th year but at the same time we are also giving back through the $1,000 specially set aside to each school participating in this project as part of our corporate social responsibility."
Yesterday, the schools were presented with a $5,000 cheque by STC and TNP at their school's garden.
The three schools competed with 19 other primary schools. They were judged on criteria such as quality, design concept, maintenance and level of involvement in the garden.
TNP editor Dominic Nathan said: "I'm impressed by the gardens of all three schools as the gardens all have something unique which set them apart but what impressed me the most was the community involvement, particularly the involvement of the parent volunteers."
The green formula
Meridian Primary School's unique corridor garden concept was its winning formula.
Their garden stretched along the corridors of Level 1 and 3 and featured hanging PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles.
On Level 3, a synthetic grass carpet helped maintain the green feel.
Among others, the recycled bottles housed money and Balsam plants.
Germaine Tan, a Primary Six pupil, helped weed and water the plants. She checks on the garden every day.
"I'm glad my school won because we put in a lot of effort to look after the garden so our effort did not got to waste," she said.
Getting the community involved
For their garden, CHIJ Our Lady of Good Counsel decided to get practical.
Common plants such as the lemongrass, pandan, bougainvillea and orchid were selected as the school feels pupils should know them.
Most of the herbs, spices and flowers had a small sign describing its uses and characteristics. These helped make Science exciting when teaching pupils.
Principal Woon Meen Faye, 60, said: "We decided to take part in this project in the spirit of SG50 and to get the whole community (students, teachers and parent volunteers) together and be involved."
Violette Lie, a Primary Two pupil, planted green beans.
"I learnt about plants around the world and that it takes time for seeds to grow," she said.
Guests at the cheque presentation even enjoyed a home-brewed drink made from freshly-picked pandan leaves and lemongrass by parent volunteers.
This article was first published on October 7, 2015.
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