Outside learning environment is unveiled at Cotmanhay Junior School

A project to design and create a new outdoor area at Cotmanhay Junior School has been successfully completed. It was opened by the Mayor of Erewash, Councillor Donna Briggs, last Friday.
Head of school Christine Bower told us: “In partnership with Warwickshire College and the Prince’s Trust, we designed a project to renovate the outside environment into a new forest school area.
“The Prince’s Trust Team Programme is a 12-week personal development programme designed to give young adults the skills, experience and confidence to return to work or education. As part of the Prince’s Trust programme, volunteers worked on site for two weeks: 14th to 25th March.
“Volunteers worked hard every day to clear brambles and nettles, replacing them with a fire pit area, surrounded by new fruit trees and three hammocks. They also cleared the old vegetable beds, and each class designed a pattern which was painted around.
“For this term’s homework, pupils grew a plant at home to add to the area. A kind parent, who lives behind the school, donated a polytunnel and we now have tomatoes growing in there. Our Year 6 school councillors planted a pear tree for the Queen’s Green Canopy to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee.”
Already pupils are feeling the benefit of the new addition to the school’s surroundings, especially the hammocks.
One said: “I cannot wait to try the hammocks. I would like to read my book whilst relaxing.”
Another commented: “Sometimes I feel frustrated and angry. Sitting in the hammock helps me to feel calm. I enjoy listening to the birds.”
Mrs Bower said: “I have seen the volunteers’ confidence, teamwork and leadership skills develop throughout this project, and the end result is fantastic! From watering fruit trees and planting vegetables, to cooking on the open fire, it is wonderful to see the children using the new outdoor learning environment.”


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