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It all Started with Anita...The Dinosaur Garden at Pinjarra Pre-school

by Katy Jenkins

Volunteers are greatly appreciated at our school, they have  been instrumental in getting projects  done that otherwise would be difficult for us to do. One of the things on our list to do was to reinstate and redesign our garden, as rather sadly it had been neglected for a while. During an orientation evening last year we discussed with parents how we needed to redevelop the garden.


Anita, a parent one of our young students approached Mara, our award winning teacher and said that she would be happy to lend a hand to get the project up and running.  The project went ahead successfully.


Fortunately, Anita approached us again this year and said that she had a few more ideas for the garden that she would like to implement. Anita had spoken with her young son and some of the other children at our preschool and they had come to the conclusion that a dinosaur garden is what they would really like. With this in mind, Anita presented her ideas to the educators and we were very excited and pleased to encourage her to develop the garden.


We shared the ideas for the project with the other parents through our school newsletter and on a sign outside the school which said, ‘Pinjarra Pymble is turning Prehistoric!

and we need your help to turn this ...

into something like this: that all the children can enjoy

Enlisting help from other parents

We helped Anita share her ideas and her request for help.  "We are in need of some plants to help bring this prehistoric vision to a present reality.  Is your family able to help? Perhaps you have some of these plants in your garden that you would be willing to donate?  Perhaps you would like to purchase a small plant for your child to plant in the prehistoric themed garden, " Anita asked.


Anita went on to give clear guidelines so that she was sure to receive the right species of plants.


"The types of plants we are looking for are drought tolerant/succulents and include Sansevieria (mother in laws tongue), Cordylines, Ponytail Palm, NZ Flax, Agaves, Aloes, Escheverias, aeoniums, howarthia, blue chalk sticks, sedums, Philodendron xanadu (miniature version of philodendron) and other similar types of plants.

 If your family may be able to help, please have a chat with Katy (Jenkins)."


Many parents answered Anita’s call and immediately donations of plants came flooding in.


Not only the parents - getting the children involved

Anita organised for a Friday in early May, when she spent the entire day at Pinjarra Pre-School and with help from the children created an absolutely fantastic dinosaur garden.


Anita regularly visits to maintain and potter around in the garden. Most of the plants have survived and the garden is an enormous hit with the children, giving them a sense of achievement, helping to create  the garden and learning to care for the plants. This shows when they proudly show off  the garden to their parents.


Having a volunteer like Anita has been valuable for the whole school and the school community. She is a role model encouraging the children to respect, care for and appreciate the garden.


We feel very proud of our dinosaur garden and are so thankful to Anita and all the volunteers  who made this unique garden come to fruition.  It has instilled a sense of community and encouraged many more parents to get involved in volunteering at the school. Some read stories, sharing aspects of their home culture, cover our library books and talk to the children about their professions.


Many of our families are also contributing helpful and interesting ideas and recipes to our newsletter. One of our families has also offered to host a Sausage Sizzle for the entire Pinjarra Community at their home if it is raining on the day of our Sausage Sizzle next week. We feel exceptionally lucky to be part of such a cohesive community.


And it all started with Anita...





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                         About the Author


Katy Jenkins is an Early Childhood Educator with a Diploma of Teaching (Specialising in Early Childhood Education).  As Director of Pinjarra Pre-School she leads and works with an enthusiastic and dedicated team of educators. Pinjarra Pre-school is a long day care service which caters for children the year before they begin formal schooling.


Katy is a qualified presenter of the parenting program "Tuning in to Kids" and an advocate of the Kimochis social and emotional skill program for children, which she implements at Pinjarra.

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Publishing positive education information for parents and teachers since 2000

Publishing positive education information for parents and teachers since 2000