Thursday, 26 June 2014

North Wiltshire Outdoor Play Project

This is a wonderful collection of pre-schools and a few early years primary classes who came together to share good practice. It was set up four years ago by Pauline Lovering who was then an Advisory Teacher for the LA and myself who was then the Play Development Advisor for the LA. Pauline is also a Learning through Landscapes teacher and was able to get a grant from them to get the ball rolling. We used this to buy some outdoor kits to share within the group.

The original plan was to run for a year, but here we are both having left the LA and still going four years later!

We met at Frogwell School in June which was a delight for me as my children went there many moons ago. Mrs Lambert is still in the office and the grounds are much the same with a little more planting around. The Early Years area is quite different though. A LOT of loose parts, tubes, corks, scrapstore bits and pieces, the area is divided up by lines of tyres a lot of which hold those loose parts. There's a boat on gravel - and an accompanying scrapbook of how the boat made it's way from the coast to landlocked Wiltshire - a tree with lots of sticks for den building with the grass left long, a builders yard with hard hats and sand, wigwam dens, planting boxes and a mud kitchen (turkey basters being a big hit!). All has evolved over several years rather than being plonked in at one time.

It was a beautiful day and we sat out in the sun having a chat about changes people had made to their play spaces.

Joy was having REAL slippery problems with her new decking and anti-slip paint and tape were suggested. Also some discussion about if you can prop a fire door open.

Pauline and I have both left Wiltshire Council. Pauline is working at The Rise Children's Centre three days a week and I am an independent Play Consultant but we're both really keen to keep the group going.

Liz Knowles at Muddy Faces has created an amazing MUD PACK for this year's International Mud Day (June 29th) There are several case studies from Wiltshire practitioners and I wrote a short piece on Risk Benefit. The book MUD by Mary Lyn Ray was also shared.

Resources shared were -
Tracey Maciver's Games and Challenges
Children's Outdoor Charter
Putting Children First; Manifesto for EY
Keep it Simple (by me!)
List of resources from Forest Network Meeting - bottom of page

Forthcoming events
Elizabeth Jarman; Communication Friendly Spaces Seminar
Wiltshire Forest and Outdoor Network meeting - July 8th, please email me if you're interested

Thanks to Sheena and Sam for hosting this meeting. Next meeting is sometime in September, possibly at Christian Malford Acorns which is where it all started :)

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