Newington primary school’s outdoor classroom moves nearer to completion

Pupils digging in at the outdoor classroom site

The project to create an outdoor learning centre at Newington Community Primary School in Ramsgate continues to blossom.

Staff, families and children have once again been hard at work armed with spades, forks, wheelbarrows and a huge bucket of enthusiasm as the outdoor classroom and garden takes a step nearer completion.

With the overgrown area cleared and cut back, the next phase has been the creation of flower and herb beds and pots, and the digging out of turf for a gravel pathway to make access easier.

Teacher Tim Knight in the overgrown dirty pond in March when the outdoor classroom project

Teachers Tim Knight and Fiona Daly, who runs the Explorers Club where pupils study insects and plants, are leading the nature garden project.

They said: “We are well under way with the project now. Everyone is really pulling together and our aim is that the outdoor classroom will be completed during the summer months for when children return for the new school year in September.”

One of the most noticeable improvements is the pond area (pictured above). It was overgrown and full of reeds and was badly silted up.

Now it is cleared and is the home to all sorts of creatures. It has been overlaid by a sturdy open mesh cover that enables pond-watchers to see what’s happening on and below the surface.

It is also a vital safety feature, and areas of the cover can be opened independently to allow access to specific areas for teaching and maintenance.

Head teacher Cliff Stokes said: “This is a terrific addition to our school learning. It is a fabulous resource for children and staff who will be sharing an outdoor classroom with nature.

“It is a wonderful way to study the natural environment close-up and the garden also creates a peaceful haven as well. Everyone who is volunteering in this project deserves a huge thank you from us all.“

The garden will provide children with access to a variety of sensory experiences including wildlife-friendly planting, opportunities to grow herbs, sensory plants and vegetables as well as investigating, surveying and building animal/insect habitats. There will also be a willow tunnel and ‘bug hotels’.