9 March 2023
St Mary’s Kindergarten is expanding their outdoor learning provision with the official opening of a new, dedicated outdoor learning area on Saturday 18 March at their Mini Investigators event for children aged 2-4.
The Mini Investigators event for children aged 2-4 on Saturday 18 March, 9.30-11.30am at St Mary’s Kindergarten in Copford, Colchester launches the opening of a brand-new outdoor learning area. This event will provide the children with the opportunity to understand the natural world around them, whilst making sense of their own life story and creating something special for their mummies for Mother’s Day!
This new outdoor learning area will be added to the already extensive resources, which include a Forest School woodland and two outdoor classrooms. These facilities are set within the nine acres of beautiful grounds at the Lower School site in Copford, near Colchester, where children can join St Mary’s Kindergarten during the term in which they turn three.
The outdoor provision is being expanded after the children who attend St Mary’s Kindergarten, began spending significantly more time outside during the pandemic. This resulted in increased confidence, independence, concentration and wellbeing for the children.
The new outdoor learning area will provide a focused outdoor area for children to develop their maths and literacy skills as well as tackling physical tasks on a bigger scale. Learning how to co-operate with others as well as gaining confidence to tackle negotiation are also skills explored through outdoor learning. There is a dedicated area set up for mark-making activities, such as painting and using chalk boards for the children to learn to form letters, which will help prepare children to write.
Suzy Violett, Kindergarten Manager at St Mary’s, explained “The pandemic forced us to think about how we could continue to offer the high-quality education in a different way. We are now building on the success of the changes we made, and with the addition of the new outdoor learning area set within the extensive grounds of St Mary’s Lower School, we are able to deliver even more of the curriculum outside.” “As well as better concentration and improved wellbeing for the children, increased confidence has also been clear to see.” the Kindergarten Manager went on to say.
All children at St Mary’s Kindergarten have a supply of waterproof suits and warm clothing so on any given day they can go outside, whatever the weather. Given the choice, the Kindergarten says the children will always choose to be outside regardless to how cold, wet or cloudy a day it is. The children will also become more independent as a result of being outside more, with improved dressing and undressing skills and an increased understanding of keeping warm and looking after their own belongings like hats and gloves. Being outdoors for a greater amount of time means the children’s awareness of boundaries will be embedded quicker too, with children following safety rules and independently asking adults for support where needed.
For anyone wishing to find out more about St Mary’s Kindergarten, free places for the Mini Investigators event can be reserved at www.stmaryscolchester.org.uk/mini-sessions