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Outdoor Learning Area at Naburn CE Primary

by Mrs Brenda Christison in Naburn, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 16th July 2020 we successfully raised £500 ( + est. £55.00 Gift Aid ) with 11 supporters in 42 days

As a small school, with little space outdoors, we would like to redevelop our Key Stage One Outdoor area, to make it fun, inspiring and safe

by Mrs Brenda Christison in Naburn, England, United Kingdom

1st place in the Calor Rural Community Fund - £5,000 Category

Why develop the outdoor area at Naburn CE Primary School? 

Our current area is tired and rotting away, and much of it is now unsafe for our children to use. A safe, inviting and accessible outdoor play space is vital for the well-being and educational development of our youngest children. An appealing outside area will also be an asset to the school from the perspective of attracting families to our school. It can be an area that has a big impact on a visitor’s impression of our school, giving that all-important ‘wow’ factor. 

The Early Years Foundation Stage Effective practice: Outdoor Learning

Outdoor learning in early years settings is important because it: supports the development of healthy and active lifestyles; offers children opportunities for physical activity, freedom and movement; promotes a sense of confidence and well-being; provides opportunities for developing harmonious relationships with others, through negotiation, taking turns and cooperation; supports those children who learn best through activity or movement; provides safe and supervised opportunities for children to experience new challenges, assess risk and develop the skills to manage difficult situations; supports children’s developing creativity and problem-solving skills; provides rich opportunities for imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness; gives children contact with the natural world and offers them unique experiences, such as direct contact with the weather and seasons. Effective practice in relation to Outdoor Learning Outdoor learning environments are as varied and diverse as each setting.

What do the children think?

You will see from our video, that the first word which springs to mind is 'damp'! The children love outdoor learning but they would like a place to explore safely and a place to have fun. Our school motto is 'Small school, Big Ideas' so they would like a place where they can go to have some of these big ideas!

One child in Year 5 said, "We want to improve this area because we want the younger children to enjoy the fresh air, and they really deserve it because they put a lot of effort into their work!"

The younger children teamed up with their older 'buddies' and worked together to come up with the following ideas:

How will this project affect the community of Naburn?
As with many other small village schools, we are competing with larger schools which can tend to have better funding and therefore more money to spend on provision. We do the best we can, but we hope that, with a new outdoor area, more families would come to our school, so keeping the village alive.

What support do we have from the local community for our project?
Our Friends of Naburn Group which consists of parents, staff, governors and local residents is fantastic at raising funds to help our school. Perhaps even more importantly, parents have offered their time to this project, supporting us by helping us with skills they have such as carpentry, painting and design.

The children have also entered a competition for £1000 run by a local charity and if successful, the prize money would go towards this project. There is another local charity which we have also approached for funds and they have kindly donated £500.

Who will benefit from our project?
The whole school of 70 pupils, plus their parents, plus the whole village as it will enhance the view of school from the road and will entice new children to our school, so bringing new families to the area.

More Information
We have been planning the outside area for some time now, asking children and teachers to come up with ideas to improve it. For example, one class interviewed the youngest children in school to find out what they wanted and then they have worked in cross class groups to design the new area.We plan to fundraise for the remaining amount by selling buns after school and through our Friends of Naburn Group who organise social events such as ceilidhs and quiz evenings which the whole village support. Once rebuilt, the area should last a good ten years, so seeing many, many children and local families benefit over time.

Breakdown of the costs
£750 on a new playhouse for a role play/reading area, £250 to fit out the playhouse with seating, cushions, books and new role play costumes. £500 on a new wooden stage area for performances, with benches for an audience to watch comfortably! £2000 on new planters, workstations, mud kitchen storage area etc all made out of wood. £2000 on new equipment such as a sand pit, water play area, vehicles and crates for stacking. £500 on new signs to develop reading and maths skills. £500 on a waterproof sun shade to enable the children to use the area come rain or shine. £250 on child friendly storage for all of this to make the children more independent.

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