Outdoor Makeover – Sudley Infant Style!

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Another gorgeous Spring day which I spent at Sudley Infant School in Liverpool. This was my second visit to Sudley to work with the team on developing their outdoor space.

They have had a lot of work done outdoors, including the installation of  a quite spectacular covered area which will allow them to have a variety of outdoor play experiences all year round.

Ruth, the Head, did a significant amount of shopping around and managed to get this bespoke arrangement for a lot less than your average 'off the peg' canopy.

To the left, behind the canopy, there is a large grassed area in which there will eventually be a den making station (of course), raised beds allotment, wild area/bushes for exploration, exploration/investigation shed and a large digging pit with an overhead pulley system. None of which is costing a huge amount of money (honestly).  Work has already started and the digging pit will be the first thing to go in.

Bearing in mind that outdoor play should offer a different experience to indoor and that the school has got the space, I was really pleased to see that it is going to be a lovely big one. There was even talk about sinking a plastic tub at one end to fill with water for the making of mud pies – Oh yes!

Under the canopy the staff want to make sure that all 6 areas are represented outdoor so that they can maximise on the fact that the outdoors offer different learning opportunities  from indoor and is also the place where some children prefer to learn and with maximum engagement comes maximum potential for attainment.

When setting up a number of new areas outdoors it is important to go one at a time and make sure that you have time to model appropriate use before you move on to the next. We want to encourage a high level of independence in the children so that staff can concentrate on teaching and not housekeeping!

The staff decided to start with a mark making/creativity area. They have installed a 'home made' marine ply timber board painted with blackboard paint and another timber board that has been slightly raised at the top to allow paper to be clipped to  it so that it can act as a large easel. There is an art trolley and also a low workshop table that also doubles up as a space for some transient art.

This is the blackboard pre children!

IMG00405-20110323-1344 It still needs its guttering trough at the bottom to put the chalks etc in but that didn't stop the boys from having a ball.

High level engagement mark making from the boys? Can't be bad! Also. a perfect opportunity for a bit of fine motor and grip assessment…

IMG00426-20110323-1431 Nice bit of boy triangulation…

Good example of an emergent triangulation. Almost there!

Remember to leave out something to clean your board with mid-session otherwise one set of children will fill it and then no one else will visit due to lack of space.

Right next door is the paint/workshop/art space.

 The board sticks up just slightly for the clips.

IMG00404-20110323-1342 Ideally the children need a choice of size and texture of paper that they can they go on to self select. They can then choose to work individually or collaboratively.  Also, lots of free access to a variety of media and large scale painting implements.

Saw some great large scale collaberative construction from…the boys.

Also a bit of good old deconstructed den making inspired by Jill Murphy, a box , a pair of wellies and a colander! We all know the one!

IMG00408-20110323-1351 IMG00406-20110323-1344 
 Working with these children (and the staff) was an absolute pleasure. I can't wait to go back and see the areas progress. Thank you Ruth and team for a lovely day.

Last time I was at Sudley I had talked to them about getting a butchers curtain for across their outside doors to keep the elements out. Ruth has looked into them and found out that you can have them as long as you have another exit from the room where they are. Otherwise they are a fire hazard – If you are thinking about getting one (and they are very good) make sure you check!


Just a quick update on the Stanley duck eggs. Today is day 5 and Geordie and I have candled them. We are pleased to report that you can see an embryo developing in both eggs. So, so far , so good.



One Comment on “Outdoor Makeover – Sudley Infant Style!”

  1. Do teachers brains ever switch off? Nope! Read your blog from now right back to the start (skim reading). Really enjoyed it and taken lots of good ideas from it. Just taken over the reigns as Foundation Coordinator and have been ‘inspired’. Thanx for all your hard work and all the blogging bits.

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