Children moving from Reception to Year 1 are facing one of the toughest transitions in education. The transition from free-flow learning through play to more structured lessons is a big jump in itself. But now these children have an even bigger step than usual having missed months of school due to Covid-19.
My aim is to recreate many aspects of the reception classroom and outdoor space to make the jump a little bit more manageable. I have put the desks in storage and instead created different areas in the classroom to support a wide range of learning opportunities that the children can access predominantly through play. The biggest challenge I face is creating an outdoor environment that can support learning outside as well as support children's mental health and well-being.
To start, the only outside space was a rubber patio outside the classroom door. There was also a leafy, bushy area that we have now cleared and we wish to build a play area in that space. Many parents have lent a hand and offered labour and materials but we are short funds to build the fence and buy the turf for the ground as well as a few other materials and pieces of equipment.*
So far, with a budget of zero we have managed to source palettes to create a music wall, a water wall and an outdoor easel; tyres to create building materials, seating and an enormous sand pit; and tree stumps and cable drums for tables and chairs. I am also extremely grateful to parents who have donated paint, brushes, weed control fabric, and hours and hours of their time!
Any donation, big or small, is greatly appreciated and will go a long way towards helping the Year 1 class, and many children in the years to come, have a wonderful outdoor space to build, create, read, write and explore in the great outdoors!
* £400 - fence panels and materials to build the fence and two sets of steps
£100 - sand to fill the tractor tyre sandpit
£200 - to buy off cuts of turf to cover the ground creating a soft surface for the children to sit and read, build and play.
£60 - for a slide coming down from the top play area to the patio because who doesn't love a slide?