Work is underway to improve the environmental outdoor centre at Upton Junior School in Broadstairs and transform it into a wooded learning area complete with ‘mini-beasts’ as a precursor to a ‘forest school.’
The idea is to expand outdoor learning for pupils which Head of Upper School Dave Walker says will give them “a greater hands-on learning experience and enrich their skills.”
He said: “Children are all different and not every child learns best inside a classroom. Our school curriculum is already very ‘hands-on’ and gives children a sense of freedom to explore and engage. This ‘forest school’ project will benefit them even more.”
The woodland development began at the start of the new school year with pupils and parents helping to move tons of wood bark into the woods to surface walkways around the trees and pond that have been widened.
This bit of the project was supported by SG Gas as part of its community funding scheme, and the bark was donated to the school by local company Brazil Bros.
Mr Walker said: “Parents and staff came with wheelbarrows and shovels while children brought buckets and spades to get involved. We were able to move the bark from the playground into our woods where it was spread across the pathway route that goes through and around the trees and pond and seated areas.”
The school’s Parent, Teachers and Friends Association will help create themed areas including special sensory and musical spots together with an area for mini-beasts.
Mr Walker added: “This a project that will grow and develop over the coming months. It is already providing a popular idea with our children and families and with our staff. Outside learning will cover all year groups and all aspects of the curriculum.”
Upton Junior School is a member of the Viking Academy Trust together with Ramsgate Arts Primary School and Chilton Primary in Ramsgate