The Jardin des Plantes school welcomes the first oasis courtyard in Orléans: what changes for children

At first glance it looks like a traditional bitumen. “It’s not a paved courtyard, reassures Chrystel de Filippi, deputy mayor of Orléans in charge of education. It’s a permeable coating that allows rainwater to infiltrate.”

“All rainwater collectors that were in the yard have been removed. The water no longer enters the nets, it feeds the groundwater. It will be poured toward the valley that is in the center of the courtyard”adds Laurent Laloup, technician.

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Ends in November

This valley is for now a dead leaf covered pit, with three beautiful trees. But the development is far from complete. “In November there will be plantations, made with the children. But also a wooden bridge and benches around the trees, where the children can nest,” they summarize.

Since the start of the school holidays, the courtyard of the primary school Jardin des Plantes has been transformed into an oasis courtyard. “The yard was in bad shape and despite the trees we kept, the temperature was very high according to the diagnosis we had made, so we started working here,” adds Chrystel de Filippi. This concept of a more vegetated schoolyard favoring various children’s games, widely used in Paris, is spreading here.

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“Everything has been thought out in consultation with the teachers, parents and children. Working groups allowed students to choose the games they wanted. The institutes shared their problems, such as the need for oversight of the court.”

Demarcated play areas for a quieter courtyard

For now, a few games have been drawn on the ground: a three-stage hopscotch, a sports field. There is also a play area in the form of a fresco on the wall next to the courtyard. There will be basketball poles, a climbing structure of the via ferrata type, for children. “We put a cushioning mulch, in natural wood, so that the children don’t hurt themselves,” develops Laurent Laloup.

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But what Ludovic Pageard, manager of the sector in charge of Atsem, and extracurricular agents, most expects, it is the “educational garden”. It will be decorated with small insect hotels, an acoustic horn to listen to the birdsong…There will be an educational garden.

This new courtyard, he thinks is “great, it is cleaner, more welcoming. And above all, the different play areas will allow children to discover different things, with areas for motor skills, sports, precision, rest. We are moving towards more respect for everyone’s space, towards reconciliation, less violence. And it’s an additional tool to educate kids about ecology.”

Only part of the huge courtyard has been redone, like the one at the kindergarten buildings was redone a few years ago, but “the kindergartens will also benefit”. The repair cost 300,000 euros, a budget slightly higher than the more traditional work. And the town hall has already designated the next school to get an oasis courtyard next year: the Pasteur School in La Source.

Cindy Roudier-Valaud

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