We are very fortunate in having extensive school grounds and are currently undertaking a development project to offer our children exciting and interesting ways to learn and play.
The main change to the way the grounds will be used is that a new playground will be built at the rear of the school adjoining the field to enable children to play on both areas during the summer months, whilst maintaining the same level of staff supervision. An outdoor learning and garden area will be developed at the front of the school giving the children the opportunity to explore their outdoor environment, to experience growing plants and learn about sustainability and local food production through hands-on experiences.
The final design will also include areas that can be used as outdoor classrooms, a pond, new play equipment and a sports court for all-year-round use.
We have, over the past couple of years, in association with the Hampshire County Council’s Schools Landscaping Service, developed a landscape strategy that was guided by a steering group and involved consultation with the school’s stakeholders. The result was a document and plan (a copy of which can be found in the School Office) that outlines the key principles we would like to apply during the design and execution of the plan, and a zoning map that identifies areas for specific purposes.
We have already secured some funding towards the outdoor learning area from the New Forest Park Authority’s Sustainability Fund and are hoping to secure grants from various areas towards building the new playground. As this is a project that will benefit all of our children, where possible, parents and children are giving a helping hand and enjoying getting involved.
Our first steps were to clear some of the undergrowth at the bottom of the field in preparation for re-fencing. A party of willing parents and children did a sterling job of getting rid of the unwanted brambles, and Will Humby has kindly since been in to dig over the area for us in preparation for the woodland garden bulb planting that the children all took part in. Next we will be sowing some wildflower seeds for our meadow to attract butterflies, bees and other insects, which hopefully we will see the results of next summer.