CHILDREN at Norcot Early Years Centre are celebrating the creation of an exciting new outside space for them to learn.
The centre secured £12,000 funding from the Tesco Bags of Help scheme to create the new Learning Through Nature Area, called Woodside, on their nursery school site.
The space will be used to allow children to gain a greater knowledge and understanding of the natural world.
Gardener Moira Rusbridge designed the space with Head of Centre Diana Heath and the senior leadership team.
The project included removing an old shed and building a new wooden shelter on the site, re-fencing, planting, laying turf and decking an area. Natural materials such as willow tunnels and bug hotels will be incorporated on the site.
Local builders Bowood Landscapes Ltd were the chosen contractors and made use of interesting additional materials which would otherwise have been disposed of, such as rubber playground tiles from another school refurbishment and hazel rods left over from garden maintenance work.
Another local building and timber suppliers, Buildbase, also gave a generous discount on materials for the decking which allowed the funding to stretch further.
The area will provide opportunities for the children to be physically active, learn about nature by hunting for mini beasts and foraging, experience cooking over an open fire pit and develop storytelling and listening skills.
A series of workshops will also be held for parents to explain the benefits of outdoor learning and giving them ideas for future outings with their children and how to use nature to develop their skills for life.
The children and special guests will be celebrating the launch of Woodside at Norcot Early Years Centre on Wednesday 29th March. Some of the youngsters will be taking part in different activities, such as marshmallow toasting over the fire pit.
Head of Centre Diana Heath said:
“Our thanks to Tesco for the innovative use of their carrier bag levy.
“Our children and the local community will get so much out of this outdoor space. Staff are already planning all the learning opportunities they wish to explore with the children.”
Cllr Tony Jones, Reading’s Lead Member for Education, said:
“Congratulations to Norcot Early Years Centre for securing the funding for this project and then creating this excellent resource.
“The outdoors is a wonderful place for children to learn and to connect with nature and I am sure many youngsters will love the time they spend in Woodside for years to come.”
Tesco works with environmental regeneration charity Groundwork on the Bags of Help initiative which awards grants, raised through the 5p plastic bag levy, to local projects.
Lyn Mangisi, of Groundwork South, the Local Tesco Enabler said:
“The scheme has been a wonderful programme to be part of as you can definitely see the changes that local community groups and schools are making in their local environment. It has been a great concept that has enabled the public to be involved in funding projects through the 5p bags and decide how much groups will be awarded through the in-store voting process.
“Norcot Early Years Centre is a prime example of how the Tesco funding will contribute to the children’s learning experiences through the woodland project of which they will carry these skills for a lifetime.
“The scheme is now open to any type of project, therefore we are encouraging all not for profit groups to apply for the Bags of Help Scheme as the funds are available and open to all.”
Anyone can nominate a local project for the Bags of Help scheme and local organisations can apply. To find out more visit www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp
Notes to Editors
Photo Opportunity: The Media are invited to send a photographer/reporter to Norcot Early Years Centre, 82 Lyndhurst Road, Tilehurst, RG30 6UB, for the launch of Woodside at 10.30am on Wednesday 29th March.