A new garden offers an alternative educational experience at Għar Dalam


Ġnien Dinja Waħda, a newly-opened garden at the prehistoric site of Għar Dalam, offers students an educational and entertaining experience beyond the classroom walls. Għar Dalam falls within the remit of Heritage Malta, which is providing space on site for use by visitors of all ages, with particular emphasis on Year Six students who may participate in an educational programme designed specifically for them. Heritage Malta is also covering these students’ transport costs from their respective schools to the site and back.

Ġnien Dinja Waħda follows in the footsteps of similar spaces that have been created in several educational institutions with the help of BirdLife Malta, where students may feel at one with nature and learn in an applied, rather than abstract, way. The garden is planted with indigenous and endemic trees and shrubs, has a seating area, and also features a freshwater pond, thus giving children the opportunity to observe different land and water species in their natural habitat.

Ġnien Dinja Waħda is open to all those who visit Għar Dalam, both individually and in groups, but for the time being the educational programme is only being offered to Year Six students. When taking part in the programme, classes are divided into groups, each of which engages in various alternating activities.

These include pond dipping, where children get to observe the pond’s fauna under the tutelage of the site’s curator; visits inside Għar Dalam itself, focusing on the cave as a natural habitat for different species; and a bark-rubbing activity where students transfer onto paper the natural patterns found on tree trunks and branches. Children will also sow seeds of indigenous trees and take them to school to nurture. The trees will later be planted at Għar Dalam and other Heritage Malta sites.

Ġnien Dinja Waħda was launched with a visit by Year Six students from Birżebbuġa Primary School, in the presence of Heritage Malta’s Chief Executive Officer, Noel Zammit, and the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry for Education, Frank Fabri.

Mr Zammit spoke of the importance of such initiatives, offering alternative means of teaching children. He stressed Heritage Malta’s commitment towards the environment, including several internal initiatives such as tree planting by the agency’s employees in their own homes for the later transfer of the trees to Heritage Malta sites. He urged students to make good use of their Heritage Malta passport, which allows them free access to various historical sites and museums.

On his part, Dr Fabri said that education is not confined to walls and every site could lend itself to relevant, hands-on, quality learning. This collaboration between the Ministry for Education and Heritage Malta is a valuable experience in children’s educational journey, and another step that sustains learning for the benefit of all students.

Heads of primary schools who would like to book visits to Ġnien Dinja Waħda for their Year Six students are requested to send an email on education@heritagemalta.org for more information.