Hidden depths

5th September 2003 at 01:00
Kate Elliot is deputy head at Fishergate Primary School, York

The cemetery is on our doorstep and it plugs a gap. Our school is almost in the centre of York and it's on a main road and we haven't got the access to the environment that some schools have.

The people at the cemetery do a lot of excellent work developing habitats.

There is the butterfly walk and we can go there and guarantee seeing a butterfly. There is a substantial pond and there are many woodland and wet habitats to attract animals. Why bring a plant into school when you can see it in its habitat?

Is being in a cemetery morbid? I don't think so. In some ways, protecting children from death is unnatural. Last term we did beginnings and endings in RE. We brought the children into the cemetery to look at the gravestones. They had opportunities to talk naturally about death.

I've been at this school for 18 years and there have always been strong links with the cemetery. It is used by every child. The children can see holly and ivy and know what they are singing about at Christmas.

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