PUPILS are enjoying learning in a new outdoor classroom made out of recycled bottles.
Youngsters at St Alban’s CoE Primary, in West Leigh, are keenly soaking up facts and fun in a beautiful hexagonal building in their school’s back garden.
The pagoda-like structure was built by Durham-based plastic product manufacturers Marmax, after a year of hard fundraising by the school’s parent teacher association, which raised £6,000.
An extra £5,000 contribution came from the school’s funds.
Samuel Horsman, 10, has already experienced literacy lessons in the new classroom.
He said: ‘It was so inspiring because we were writing about animals and could see birds and nature all around us.
‘I find working outdoors makes lessons much more interesting, because it helps you use your imagination more freely, and it’s nice to be able to move around and get some fresh air.
‘I also love the fact that the classroom is environmentally friendly – we are doing our bit to help save the planet.’
Emilia Talen, five, said: ‘I love playing in the classroom in break time, because I can hide under the seats and also take shelter if it’s raining or too hot.
‘We are all having so much fun in it, especially during our Welly Wednesdays when we go out in the morning in our wellies to do some gardening and planting.
‘I feel very proud that our school has raised so much money to make this possible.’
Headteacher Alice Wood applauded members of the school’s PTA for their commitment to fundraising through cake sales, a Christmas fair, non-uniform days and sponsored cinema outings.
She said: ‘I’m so thrilled with our new classroom. The children absolutely love it and have been using it during their break times as well as for lessons.
‘We took a leaf from the government’s drive to increase outdoor learning and came up with a solution for both play and studies.
‘Research shows that when children go outside to learn their brains are much more stimulated.
‘The outdoors helps them retain information and be motivated – so we are naturally delighted our pupils have taken to it so well.’
She added: ‘We were originally going to have a wooden building but when I did my research I discovered this recycled alternative that won’t need any maintenance at all.’