Throughout the school year, I have been working alongside some key members of our community to think about how we can improve our outdoor space. It has been a core focus to make plans which can be used to apply for grants, P&F funding and other opportunities as they arise.
One of our parents, Barbara Samitier, has contributed huge amounts of time to help us create a vision for the whole outdoor area with a consistent theme. I have previously shared through our newsletter and our website, parts of this vision, including the Foundation Stage outdoor area, the Crystal Palace (sports) playground and the Lordship Lane playground (where the new activity trail is due to be installed over the summer).
However, there is one project I have worked on in the background with Barbara. We have developed plans for this project ready to be implemented, but have been waiting for the right funding opportunity to be confirmed.
You may not all have noticed our school garden area, as it is currently quite well hidden behind the School House and is not suitable for our children to access due to its poor condition.
I am very happy to confirm that we will be revamping the whole area in line with our design vision, creating a peaceful garden area and outdoor classroom space. The garden will be opened up so that it can be an extension of our playground, but will remain secluded enough to offer a calm and quiet experience at break times, and an additional learning environment for small groups.
The objective for the whole of our outdoor space but in particular this area, is to create a greener environment where wildlife can flourish and our children can be immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of nature.
The garden will encompass:
- Planting beds filled with herbaceous plants and fragrant climbers
- Seating areas for outdoor learning and quiet reflection
- Storage for our tools and learning resources
How are we going to achieve this?
Over the year I have been in contact with 3 Elements, who harness volunteers from the corporate world to support community projects. We have been working with them to build a project plan which would spark their interest and enthusiasm to work with our school.
Last week Barbara and I met with the team leaders from Deutsche Bank and Clifford Chance which was our final pitch to convince them that we are a worthy cause and that a new garden would make a huge difference for our children. I am extremely pleased to announce that they loved the vision behind our project and 3 Elements have confirmed it will be going ahead.
We have successfully secured a large workforce (and a small budget) on Thursday 12th July, made up of Deutsche Bank and Clifford Chance volunteers, who will descend on our playground and get to work! The whole Lordship Lane playground will be closed off for the day. As well as tackling the garden, they will look at other improvements which can be made around the playground…lots of painting and hopefully some new planters and seating. The P&F have generously agreed to fund the paving of the garden area once the voluntary team have finished.
We will ensure that timetables next year allow all classes access to our new playground areas during playtimes
We can’t wait for everybody to see the results and we are delighted that this project is going ahead. In the meantime, you can view the plans on our website.