Dozens of youngsters are playing outdoors more than ever before thanks to a brand new playground.
The children at Jigsaw Playschool, based on the site of Rowlands Castle St John’s CofE Primary School, have been enjoying their purpose-built outdoor area since July.
Previously, youngsters aged five and under shared the primary school’s playground – but had to schedule their play times so they didn’t clash with the older children.
But it now boasts a fenced-in playground with a canopy for all-year play, a big Wendy House, a slide, tyres and beautiful flowers and plants.
Joanne Garton, senior early years practitioner, says: ‘It’s absolutely brilliant. Children can come and go as they please and they are mostly choosing to stay outdoors!
‘In the past we had to work around the primary schoolchildren and when we couldn’t take them outdoors we’d offer face-painting and other indoor activities.
‘But now the children are constantly going outside. It makes such a huge difference to them and we are so grateful for the support we’ve had from St John’s. It’s like a dream come true for us.’
Kay Pennicotte-Henrie, headteacher at St John’s Primary, also chairs Jigsaw’s board of trustees.
Together with her extended schools manager, Debbie Cornish, she successfully bid for £37,000 capital funding from Hampshire County Council in 2008 to build the playground.
Due to budget cuts, the grant was reduced to £30,000 and the school is appealing for members of the public to donate equipment or money to make it even nicer for the children.
Debbie says: ‘The school has incredibly close links with Jigsaw and we are thrilled with the brand new outdoor play area which looks great.
‘We were very lucky to get the funding and would like to say a massive thanks to local businesses Round-to-it, Halls Garage, Keydell Nurseries, Caroways and Home Hardware who have been so generous and provided resources.
‘Because of the cuts there were some things we couldn’t afford like a climbing frame and a small boat for the children to play in.
‘Any donations towards play area would be very gratefully received.’
To make a contribution, please call Jigsaw’s manager Lorraine Bryant on (023) 9241 2095.