Garden brings life to early learning centre

Garden brings life to early learning centre

A beautiful sensory garden has been created at Gippsland Grammarʼs Bairnsdale Campus in memory of past student, Caitlyn Fisher.

Caitlyn enjoyed her primary school years at Bairnsdale Campus before heading to the Sale Garnsey Campus and completed year 12 in 2015.

She tragically died, aged 19, riding her horse in a cross country event in Sydney.

Her parents, Mark and Ailsa, of Wy Yung, together with the Gippsland Grammar School community, worked tirelessly to build the natural play space in the Early Learning Centre.

It was designed to complement the social emotional growth and wellbeing of the school’s youngest students.

It provides a place for play, for curiosity, reflection, for sensory and tactile exploration and imagination. The centrepiece is a wooden statue of Caitlyn’s beloved horse, Ralphie.

The garden was officially opened on Friday, March 26, with a ceremony involving Caitlyn’s family as well as students of all ages from the local campus. Celebrations continued in the garden space after the blessing.

Gippsland Grammar head of Bairnsdale junior campus, Virginia Evans, described the day as a great community celebration.

“Today is a day to be truly proud of being part of this wonderful community, you are a community of strength and of commitment to your children, to our students,” she said as she thanked the families and friends gathered who, in one way or another, had contributed to the project.

She thanked the Fischer family for its generous contribution as well as school parent Ross Heath for kindly managing and overseeing the project. Caitlyn’s mother, Ailsa Carr, said:

“It was a truly beautiful day on Friday and a great celebration of what can be accomplished when a school community comes together on a project such as this. Thanks so much Gippsland Grammar, you are an amazing school.”

Caitlyn was described by her teachers and friends as having a generous spirit, being compassionate and hard working – these qualities are evident in all involved in this community project.

“I admired Caitlyn’s work with the Jane Goodall Institute as a year seven student, so too her equestrian pursuits throughout her secondary schooling, and I was fortunate to travel to Vietnam with her and witness her nurturing nature of the people and culture,” one of Caitlyn’s teachers, Leah Simmons, said.

“What a wonderful way to ensure Caitlyn’s love and care of the environment, animals and people lives on.”

PICTURED: Caitlynʼs brother, Kristofer Fischer, Gippsland Grammar Old Scholars, Claudia Martin and Kate Marshall, and Caitlynʼs parents, Ailsa and Mark Fischer in the garden after the opening and blessing.