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New outdoor area at Dereham school is blessed by the Bishop of Lynn

PUBLISHED: 16:49 19 September 2011

The new early years outdoor area at Dereham Infant School was officially opened by The Bishop of Lynn Rt Rev Jonathan Meyrick and John Gretton, watching on is Bryoni Nottage (4). Picture: Ian Burt

The new early years outdoor area at Dereham Infant School was officially opened by The Bishop of Lynn Rt Rev Jonathan Meyrick and John Gretton, watching on is Bryoni Nottage (4). Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2011

A school wildlife area which used to be "a mess" has been transformed into a successful outdoor learning area.

The space at Dereham Church Infant School and Nursery was blessed by the Bishop of Lynn, Jonathan Meyrick, today (Monday) at the site’s official opening.

Karen Gay, headteacher of the school, said about the space: “It used to be a wildlife area, which was a mess. Because the space is bigger the children are not bumping into each other. It is amazing watching the pupils play in it.”

The early years outdoor area is used by some 112 youngsters, aged between three and five, and cost £40,000, which came out of the school budget.

Features include a mini amphitheatre, car track and sandpit and children are encouraged to use the space during lesson time where they will be able to enjoy “focused learning”.

The idea was conceived by staff and governors of the school a year ago and work on the outdoor area, which took just four weeks to create, was finished just before the start of the summer holiday.

Mrs Gay said the children love the new space, along with the teachers and parents, and added: “The lessons are fun!”

The Rt Rev Jonathan Meyrick said: “It is fantastic. The kids look very happy and contented and kids learn better when they are happy. It is great to see a place that encourages children to be children.”

Over the past three years a new play area and garden have been established at the school, which teaches children up to seven-years-old.

Mrs Gay added the new early years outdoor area has proved so popular the reception class intake for January next year is now oversubscribed.

Oscar Dale, four, from Dereham, said: “I like rolling down the grass bank with my friends.”

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