9 February 2022
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A new outside learning area has recently been unveiled at the Pre-Prep.
Back in 2015, the Pre-Prep began planning the development of the Early Years Foundation Stage. The first step, swapping the Year 2 and Reception classrooms over, enabled Reception to access a large, secure outside area as well as allowing Year 2 to have an effective outside learning environment.
In the Spring Term 2021, the opportunity arose to invite four companies to produce a design that would incorporate all the different areas for a new learning environment; a quiet space; a growing, planting natural area; an area for investigative water, sand and mud play; and an area for physical play and construction.
The design from Pentagon Play was everything the Pre-Prep team was looking for and work on the project started halfway through December 2021. Although a few hindrances including impact from Covid-19 and reduced timber supply set the team back a few weeks, the playground is now finally complete.
The design incorporates several zones including a creation zone, where pupils can create child and adult-initiated projects, a playhouse, a quiet area for reading, a construction area which includes a bucket and pulley system, digging pit and scales, a water wall with interconnecting pipes and tubes and a conveyer belt connected to a sand chute.
The astro-grass area is home to climbing apparatus that will challenge the pupils' physical development. This includes climbing and pulling up using their own strength, and there are three bars to allow the children to pull themselves up and over, to learn to control their bodies by swinging over the bars.
A wobbly bridge at the bottom of the learning area leads into the wild area, where pupils will investigate minibeasts and plants. There is also an insect hotel.
In September 2021, curriculum changes to the Early Years Foundation Stage highlighted the need for children to have access to equipment that would challenge them physically. The EYFS is about how children learn, as well as what they learn. The new playground provides opportunities for children to develop their own play and independent exploration.
The Pre-Prep staff will provide pupils with scaffolds to help their learning by thinking, discussing and planning ahead, for example making choices about the materials they need to use. The resources and equipment enable children to actively learn, play and explore and create and think critically. These are the characteristics of effective learning. Encouraging the children to ‘have a go,’ to focus and concentrate on a task, even if they encounter difficulties, as well as learning to enjoy their achievements.
Belinda Callow, Head of Pre-Prep commented, "The Pre-Prep is a magical learning environment, where the children are nurtured and are safe to investigate, explore and discover. The high-quality teaching and learning is enhanced by well-resourced classrooms and an amazing teaching team. We are so pleased to now have an outside play area that reflects this excellence in the classroom. What a fantastic environment for children to develop, creating a wonderful foundation on which to blossom on their learning journey."
09 February 2022