Learners From South East Adult Education Service Visit National Botanical Gardens & Arboretum, Wicklow

Today we have a post from Caro Neville, Adult Literacy Organiser at the Dun Laoghaire Adult Education Service – South East at DDLETB Loughlinstown Training Centre. You can find out more about all DDLETB’s Adult Education Services by clicking here.

A Visit To The National Botanical Gardens & Arboretum

This year we used the NALA Student Development Fund to take a group of 23 students to the National Botanical Gardens and Arboretum in Kilmacurragh, Co Wicklow. It was a fantastic opportunity for our learners to enjoy an experience together that might not otherwise be possible. We had a really fantastic, almost magical day and when we returned to the center at the end everyone was buzzing. There was a real sense of community within our centre. Everyone agreed that it had really enhanced their year of learning with us. It was fun, educational, relaxing, and a brilliant way to end the term.
DDLETB Adult Education Trip To National Botanic Gardens 3

DDLETB Adult Education Service Trip To National Botanic Gardens, Wicklow

We hired a bus, loaded it up with supplies, newspapers, worksheets, frozen water (it was really, really hot) coffee, tea, cakes and a picnic lunch and 3 tutors joined the students. Once we arrived we enjoyed coffee and cakes before the tour.

Our tour guide was fabulous, I spoke with her briefly about the profile of the group, and that we had created a quiz. She was wonderful, tailoring the tour to our learner’s level, including information that was important for the quiz. The learners were captivated and concentrated (unusual for a large group) and learned a lot historically and botanically. They were amazed at the beauty of nature.  There is an area planted for meditation and relaxation, full of orchids,  which we walked through silently, this was a completely new idea for most of the learners and afterwards everyone said how much they had enjoyed it.
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DDLETB Adult Education Service Trip To National Botanic Gardens Wicklow

Whilst we enjoyed a gorgeous picnic in the sun, which was a real treat, I observed that new friends were being made. A lot of them had not met before or only seen each other to nod hello to. We had several younger men and women who are generally very shy, sitting and lying together with the older members in the grass talking about what they had seen and learned. About how they would never have thought to come somewhere like this and how great it was. Beside us was a tree that grows outwards (not up) and inside is a tangle of branches and trunks and lots of the learners made small groups to enjoy exploring it. It was wonderful to see such integration and appreciation.

The quiz and prize giving of plants (we had two joint first prizes, three joint second prizes, and four joint third prizes) was wonderful with lots of laughter and appreciation. Everyone went home thrilled from the day and looked very happy.’

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DDLETB Adult Education Service Trip To National Botanic Gardens