Whatever the Weather
Much has been said recently about the importance of fresh air. At Eversfield, we have been keeping windows open to improve ventilation and, where possible, we have tried to take our teaching and learning outside. On occasion, earlier in the year, it has certainly been a little bit chilly. For the children in Nursery and Kindergarten, however, the outdoor curriculum has always been a regular feature of their learning experience. It is a planned, timetabled part of the school day. This year, in order to maximise the effectiveness of the outdoor space, there have been some new and exciting developments in the Early Years playground, including the acquisition of new bikes and climbing equipment to keep the children happy and active. Even more exciting is that the pupils in Reception also have the opportunity to use the new resources during their own break times.
The logs and tyres in the playground are perfect for developing balancing skills, giving the children the confidence they need to jump from one piece of equipment to another. We are very grateful to Mr Hawley for donating two enormous tractor tyres to school, which are already very much loved.
Another popular feature of the outside area is the mud kitchen. These children are no strangers to outdoor hospitality, as they spend time preparing pretend meals using natural ingredients such as pine cones and bark pieces and exploring the properties and textures of the different materials. Not very appetising, you might think, but I’m sure I saw something similar recently on Great British Menu which was highly praised by the judges. Often, Miss Shipley tells me, baking also takes place in the play houses, and impromptu shops and restaurants are set up by the children.
I should point out that the play houses have been recently renovated by Mr Phillips, who has also been busy designing and building a special climbing wall for the Early Years children. The climbing wall has a range of different options for reaching the top, challenging the children by forcing them to make choices and to persevere. Above all, staff love watching children tackle the climbing wall because it provides the opportunity to take risks in a controlled and safe environment.
Being outside is about far more than physical development. The outdoor classroom has a full range of activities on offer, including a sheltered table with drawing and writing equipment and a range of books to read. The children can also choose to play with small world equipment or to work at the chalk table, where they can engage creatively and collaboratively. Very often, the chalk marks extend to cover the playground surface as well.
With any new acquisition, taking care of the resources is a priority. Miss Shipley is very proud of the new storage sheds she has ordered to preserve and protect the new equipment, which allow items to be accessed easily and safely by children and staff alike. Judging by the happy, smiling faces in the photos, the new Early Years resources are money well spent.