Classroom in the sky dream to come true for students

Pupils from Rowlands Castle St. Johns CEC Primary School, Toby Garne (year2 aged 7)and Abigail Horton (year2 aged 6), with their plans for a tree house. ''Picture: Peter Langdown.
Pupils from Rowlands Castle St. Johns CEC Primary School, Toby Garne (year2 aged 7)and Abigail Horton (year2 aged 6), with their plans for a tree house. ''Picture: Peter Langdown.

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YOUNGSTERS are preparing to have some of their lessons taught in a classroom in a tree.

Children at St John’s CEC Primary School in Rowlands Castle will be learning in their very own classroom in the sky, by having a tree house built on their school grounds.

The learning tree hut will give a group of up to 30 students the chance to learn outdoors in a weather-protected area.

The school has raised £18,0000 for the hut, with £3,000 raised through crowdfunding. People in the community supported the initiative through cake sales and fundraising activities.

Ruth Butler is a governor and outdoor learning lead at the school.

She said: ‘The Learning Tree Hut will give us a base for our outdoor learning and forest schools programmes, and the dedicated teacher that leads them.

‘We use outdoor learning to engage children with the curriculum and achieve higher educational attainment, increased physical activity.

‘The hut will improve pupils’ understanding of the environment and their natural habitat. It will overlook the school pond and woods.

‘These are teeming with wildlife and make a wonderful, natural area of curiosity, learning and exploration for children.’

And Mrs Butler said it will really benefit the children’s learning.

‘Improving educational attainment is a key driver and outdoor learning is helping us achieve this.

‘The tree hut will create a space where learning is engaging and fun.’

The children have been heavily involved in the design and layout of the hut and they even wrote to the education secretary Nicky Morgan to ask for her support in their project.

Mrs Butler added: ‘The children have been involved with the design and layout of the hut through consultation with professionals, like landscape architects.

‘The children would like a ladder up to the hut with a slide to exit.

‘They have been fully engaged with fundraising, design and delivery and are really excited to see it in real life.’

Peter Langdown, a member of the outdoor learning team, added: ‘We’ve worked hard over the past few years to make it happen through fundraising and hard graft.

‘Our successful outdoor learning project has seen parts of our playground and field transformed into an 
exciting learning environment for our children.

‘The children’s ideas and wishes have been at the heart of this.’