We were delighted to grant a primary award to Ashwell School to further develop their Early Years outside area. The area will soon be covered and have a new surface and Tracy Bowen, their Business Manager, put in a very persuasive bid for outside cupboards, benches, boxes and learning materials as part of their on-going development. As funds allow, they aim to include a Mud kitchen / Sand Exploration / Water Exploration / Investigating Area / Maths Shed / Arts Shed / Bike storage / Role Play area and Music area in the future. They will most likely use their £500 registration prize draw winnings from last term to help with these.
We are convinced about the massive benefits of teaching outdoors and were impressed that, as well as science, Ashwell will be including other subjects such as Maths tuition outside. Whilst we do not usually fund standard furniture, we appreciate that items such as outside benches, plastic boxes and cupboards are vital to facilitate projects such as this and it was clear that Ashwell had done their research to get good value for money.
We were also impressed with the fact that the Ashwell’s afterschool clubs will also be using the area – children, particularly the younger ones, are so often tired after a day in the classroom and being able to get them outside under cover is hugely advantageous.
We wish Ashwell all good luck with their project and look forward to receiving a little feedback and some photographs to show here in due course.
We were very grateful to receive the Edufund grant last year, and thought you would be interested in how the money was spent.
Early Years Research has shown that the majority of children learn better in an outdoor environment. We did have an outdoor environment, however it was very poorly resourced. Children would have to return inside to collect equipment to help them learn, for example, pencils paper etc. There was nowhere to store the equipment outside and consequently children did not use the outdoor space well.
Your grant allowed us to purchase 2 sheds and equip them with resources to support science, maths and art development. A lot of the equipment is made of natural resources, e.g. chalkboards, wooden shapes and letters, twigs, fir cones. From the photos, you can see how much the children enjoy learning in the outside area.
We were also able to use some of the grant to purchase a range of science equipment for use outside – including magnifying glasses, plastic jugs and piping to explore floating and sinking concepts. The equipment is stored in trolleys that can be easily moved around the outdoor setting, with easy access for the children.
We now have a great outdoor learning space that is accessible throughout the day because studies have shown that some children learn better outside. The children lead their own learning, with guidance from practitioners, and learn through play. For example one child may dress up as a police officer with a pad and pencil to practice writing skills. The children use the wooden tea service to practise their mathematical language of size, as well as sharing and using their imagination. The magic is to interweave play and learning seamlessly to make learning fun, which is what the resources brought with your grant have allowed us to do. Our children now make good progress in all areas of their learning, achieving good levels of development when they leave the Foundation Stage.
We are so proud to be able to offer these fantastic facilities and quality of education to our Early Years children, which your grant has helped us to fund. Thank you!