Pupils can explore the great outdoors

Date: Friday 21 February 2014

TWSC St Johns Primary picnic benches web

Children in Rowlands Castle will be able to enjoy lessons outside of the classroom after Taylor Wimpey donated money to buy picnic benches for their school.

The staff and pupils at St John’s Primary School in the Hampshire village have been fundraising to transform its outdoor space into an area fit for learning.

The Outdoor Learning Project is a five-year plan to turn the school grounds into a place where the children can spend time outside by introducing an outdoor amphitheatre, sculptures, allotments, a learning hut, a picnic area, a woodland walk, a pond, a worship and reflection area, a bamboo garden and an outdoor art gallery.

We donated £600 to fund two new picnic tables for the newly-transformed pond area at the school, which is near to our Castle View development in Rowlands Castle.

Sharon Armstrong, Lead Fundraiser for the St John’s Primary School Parent Teacher Association, says: “When we started this project, the school had two old-fashioned concrete playgrounds, yet it is very lucky to have extensive grounds which were not being used before.

“It was recommended by Ofsted that the school needed to do more to promote outdoor learning, so we set about raising money to transform the outside space into a place where the children could enjoy science and maths lessons.

“The children themselves came up with some amazing ideas and we have been very lucky to receive some fantastic donations which have enabled us to transform the space and make it safe and accessible for the children and staff.

“We needed some seating as part of the project so the children had somewhere to sit and make notes while doing their science observations. It was a lot of money for a small school like ours to find, so we are really grateful to Taylor Wimpey for its generous donation, which we’ve used to buy two big picnic tables.

“This has been really important for the children’s learning as research shows that outdoor learning opportunities raise levels of attainment. The boys, in particular, benefit from learning outside because their attention span can be short when they are young, but taking them outside the classroom makes a huge difference.

“The children have waterproofs and wellies, and come rain or shine, they are out there enjoying the new space – they absolutely love it!”

Fiona Creed, Regional Sales and Marketing Director for Taylor Wimpey, says: “As a local housebuilder we are committed to supporting the local communities in which we build our new homes and we are delighted to have offered this donation to the children and staff at St John’s Primary School.

“What they are trying to achieve at the school through their fundraising efforts is remarkable and will result in a fantastic outdoor area where the children can study and learn away from the classroom. We hope the pupils will enjoy many a happy lesson on their new picnic benches by the pond.”