At the Wessex Learning Trust we are very fortunate that all of our schools boast incredible rural surroundings, and as a Trust we believe that outdoor education is key to children’s development and growth. We are always keen to help our children engage in their surroundings and get to grips with rural life. This is no less true than at Rainbow Woods Pre-School (part of Weare First School) where Pre-School Manager, Lana Whittaker, has been nurturing the children’s outdoor experiences by converting a piece of previously overgrown land on the school site into an exceptional new Early Years Unit that incorporates a forest school for the children.
The new Early Years Unit adds yet another exceptional facility to the school, who’s roster of amenities already include a swimming pool, forest school area, large playing field, and onsite kitchen.
Getting the land ready for the children was however no mean feat and saw Lana and her husband working hard over the school holidays to clear the site of weeds and brambles so as to make it accessible for the children. This was then followed by a lot of hard work trimming trees, building mud kitchens and making the pond safe. Even the pre-school children got to get involved in the building of their new forest school, helping for instance put wood chippings down around their new playhouse, planting flowers and painting pebbles.
All that hard work has paid huge dividends, as the finished result is an exceptional forest school in the heart of the school featuring a story area, veg patch, playhouse, pond, mud kitchen, and so much more for the children to explore and enjoy. With time, the space is also sure to develop further as the plants and landscape grow and get nurtured by the staff and children.
The children’s excitement was palpable as they first got to explore the new facility, with so many new places for them to investigate. A sure favourite had to be the pond where the children were fascinated to see all the wildlife which had made its home in and around the water.
The site is perfect for the children as it adjoins the pre-school’s existing outdoor area, enabling their playing and learning to naturally spill out into the forest school. Thanks to this, outdoor education is sure to become a regular feature of the pre-schooler’s experience at Weare, and hopefully support them to develop an interest in nature and their surroundings.
Executive Headteacher, Denise Mawdsley, called the new Early Year’s Unit facility:
“An incredible addition to our wonderful school, which I hope will help inspire our children to gain a love for the outdoors and enjoy all the benefits of getting outside”.
Denise Mawdsley, Executive Headteacher
In addition, Pre-School manager Lana said that:
“Developing the new space has certainly not been easy, but now that it’s here we couldn’t imagine being without it! The children love being able to get outside every day and explore the wilderness. The benefits of an outdoor education for children’s development is huge and something I believe makes Rainbow Woods Pre-School an exceptional place for children to start their educational journey!”
Lana Whittaker, Pre-School Manager
We’re sure that the children are going to love spending time in their new forest school, and we hope it will be something they’re able to enjoy for years to come!
This project was very kindly supported by a grant from the Badgworth Schoolroom Foundation, as well as countless generous donations from parents and carers of soil and wood chippings, help in clearing of trees and weeds, making of a mud kitchen which the pre-school are incredibly grateful.
If you would like to find out more about sending your child to Rainbow Woods Pre-School please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01934 733413