Good news travels fast
Our local paper, The Cambridge Evening News, have picked up on the play garden I designed and made at Newnham Croft Primary School, Chedworth Street. “These pupils are all smiles now they can lay claim to having one of the best outdoor play areas in Cambridge.”
My design solution to a previously unplayable space at the back of the buildings was to take away all the degraded, slimy, artificial surfaces and approach the space under mature sycamore trees as a wild, woodland garden. In our early monitoring the space was used by 15% of the children 25% of the time available for free-flow play, where children play in the outdoor space at will. Now it is used by 85% of children 85% of the time plus compulsory playtimes and outdoor lessons.
Sharon Williams, the headteacher who has championed this brave change from tarmac to wild garden says, “They’re developing their speech and language, problem solving and leadership skills. They have to work things out together. It’s all very open-ended so they can create whatever they want, rather than being restricted to fixed use equipment.”
For my part, it is a delight to see children teaming up, sharing resources and creating imaginative worlds because the space encourages exploration and fun. The staff have fully embraced wild play and would like to see Fresh Air Learning extend into the Juniors too.