Innovative play therapy project transports schoolchildren back to the 18th century

Capability Brown is one of the world’s most well-known landscape architects, sculpting hundreds of gardens and parks across England in the 18th century. His contribution to the English style of gardening was significant, and his influence can still be seen in stately homes and country parks across the UK today.

2016 is the 300th anniversary of his birth and 60 Year 3 pupils from Bluebell Hill primary school in St Ann’s, Nottingham, are preparing a unique gardening project to celebrate his life and achievements. Young Arts volunteers Nottingham Decorative and Fine Arts Society have organised an innovative hands-on play therapy project for the children to be introduced to the works of Capability Brown.

Emma Scholfield from The Gardens Trust will be visiting Bluebell Hill school to tell the pupils all about Capability Brown. Play therapist, Richard Arkwright, will transport the children back to the 18th century by role-playing Brown and invite them to become his trainees. They will work together assisted by St Ann’s staff on one of St Ann’s allotments sites in Nottingham.

Sue Punt, a Notts DFAS Young Arts volunteer, who created the project said: “Capability Brown helped shape the countryside we see around us today and the best way to bring this history to life is for the children to experience it themselves.  Learning about history, nature and the world around us can be great fun. As well as learning about gardening, the children can look forward to enjoying practical tasks including willow sculpting, collage and art and crafts along with map making.”

The children will also visit Belvoir Castle, where Capability Brown developed plans for a landscaped garden in the 1700s that were never carried out. The Duchess of Rutland has worked with Alan Titchmarsh to implement many of these ideas, so the children will be able to experience a brand new Capability Brown design for themselves.


Nottingham DFAS

Capability Brown 300 Festival

The Gardens Trust

More information on NADFAS Young Arts

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