We have always been conscious of wanting to develop the outdoor environment at Newtown Primary School in Gosport, writes early years manager Sarah Charlesworth.
It’s quite a large primary school building on a small plot.
We have always been conscious of doing something about it. Last autumn we thought we would move that forward.
I approached the Landscape Strategy Team within Hampshire.
The headteacher asked me to head the workshops and start the ball rolling with that.
Early years doesn’t have its own area and it does have an impact on our curriculum. We are looking to tailor our outdoor environment to support the children’s learning.
We are looking for engaging activities outside to support the curriculum outside as well as for play equipment.
The new curriculum is giving teachers more scope to be more creative.
The outdoors is an powerful environment to use.
We would like ropes for children to climb.
We want some sand pits for them to do some digging and develop their shoulder muscles.
It can help with their reading and writing.
We also need a natural environment for them to engage in science investigations.
We are having a series of interactive workshops to develop the school buildings and grounds.
We had staff, local residents, parents, representatives of the local council, including Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage and, most importantly, the children who inspired the adults with their ideas and presentation skills.
This was an opportunity for the whole school community to come together to explore and develop ways in which the school environment might be developed to support and extend the opportunities for play and learning that already goes on at Newtown School.
We explored how existing spaces were used – how spaces are accessed, how well these spaces lend themselves to socialising and learning and the impact this has on the natural environment.
The meeting was an invigorating experience with different perspectives and experiences being shared and different views being offered.
It was enlightening to see that everyone wanted the same thing – an exciting and inspiring place for people to be.
As we move on we will bring in more children to get their ideas.