At Rachel Keeling we recognise the importance of our environment and on a daily basis we reflect and modify it to ensure it provides our children with the richest opportunities for learning.
During the Spring Term we have had some exciting developments in our garden: our pond area has been opened up!
Previously we had a sunken pond area which was gated off, whilst offering exciting learning, due to health and safety, it was only accessible with an adult. We reflected on this and wanted the area to become part of our on-going Forest School provision which we have embedded in our daily practice. As a result we worked with our talented landscaper, Gavin, and raised our pond to above ground height, removed the fencing and created a seating area around the edge. Our creatures that were living there (small fish, tadpoles, frogs, newt and water snails) were carefully transferred over and Gavin included an amphibian ramp for the newts and frogs to use to access the water. The area is truly accessible to all children, staff and visitors with step-free access. Children have been using the area with and without adults to explore: observing, drawing up rules for use, pond dipping and relaxing.
Of course we only remove the safety grill when an adult is learning with the children.
The area is a busy but peaceful space for learning and children have been sustaining concentration over the past two days. The photographs evidence just some of the learning this week so far.