Great outdoors is a big hit with new Blackhorse pupils

Published on: 09 Oct 2015

CHILDREN starting school at Blackhorse Primary had a special surprise when they arrived to find a new £25,000 outdoor learning area.
The school, which places an emphasis on outdoor learning and was the first in the county to earn the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality mark, created the area so that reception pupils could explore learning outside all year round.
Early Years Leader Alex Wilson said: “Outdoor learning is a very important part of learning in Reception here at Blackhorse and we duplicate our curriculum indoors and out so that children can learn outside all year round.
“The new area doesn’t just provide a fun and stimulating environment for play but also provides a wealth of opportunities for physical and academic development. For example, the new area includes numerous areas to write and learn about maths, has a ‘mud kitchen’for learning about materials, a ‘bug hotel’ where children can study insects and  water areas where children can learn about science.
“ As well as all these areas, the space also has a number of apple, pear and fig trees where, in the summer and autumn, children can help themselves to fruit straight off the tree!.”
The development is the latest in a long line of outdoor spaces created at Blackhorse, built by artisan carpenters from the ‘Green Play Project’.
Head teacher Simon Botten said: “We have a very specific vision for outdoor learning at Blackhorse and by using all natural, untreated wooden structures built by real craftsmen we hope to create outdoor learning spaces which are of better quality, are more environmentally sustainable and are actually cheaper than the factory produced play equipment found in many schools.”
The school’s outdoor learning ambitions for the coming year are equally ambitious, including an outdoor library made from a reconditioned caravan and a new PTA-funded play area. The school also has a four-year plan for a Forest Skills Campus on the old school field across Blackhorse Lane which they hope will include an outdoor science lab, complete with its own renewable energy supply, and various Forest School activities.
For this the school is seeking community groups including Scout and Guide Groups to contribute to the design and funding bid. Please contact the school if your group would like to be involved in developing this exciting initiative.
* Is your child starting school in September 2016? Blackhorse has visit days for prospective parents on  October 7 at 9.30am, November 24 at 9.30am and January 7 at 7pm. All applications for primary school places have to be made by January 15, 2016.

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