Education reporter HAZEL ETTIENNE goes outside to look at an Oakes school
SEASONAL changes are under way at Reinwood Infant and Nursery School in Oakes.
This friendly school has a strong environmental focus and as the autumn months begin there are some exciting plans unfurling in the school grounds.
It already has some outstanding facilities, including a large woodland area, a wildlife area with pond and an allotment.
And in the coming months it is aiming to transform its former caretaker’s house into Reinwood Shacc (Seasons House and Community Centre), an outdoor learning centre with community rooms which will be an asset to the whole area.
Head teacher Karen Butler said: “We are so fortunate to have such wonderful school grounds which we can develop.
“These new plans are so exciting. We are creating a learning environment to help children enjoy and appreciate all we have in our school and the great outdoors.”
The project is part of the school’s commitment and work within the environment which enriches the lives of the 300 pupils.
A newly-restored pond area and nature trail help children explore everything which the environment has to offer.
Children take an active role in providing habitats in which creatures can thrive and which give them in turn the chance to learn about life cycles and the homes where animals live.
And a well-stocked welly and outdoor wear room ensures the pupils can enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather.
A poly-tunnel and allotment area is home to potato and tomato plants, which children harvest enthusiastically for the school cook.
Also, a blackberry picking expedition reaped an abundance of fruit for healthy puddings and homemade jam.
The 16-strong school council is very involved and has its own ideas in the school development plan which is seen by governors.
The school is committed to investing in its pupils, their lives and learning.
To this effect it has been given Investors In Pupils status, an endorsement of the fact it gives its children a voice and ensures they take responsibility for their own learning.
“We invest and value what they have to say and act on it,” says Mrs Butler.
The school, downstairs on the Reinwood site, has strong links with the junior school, which is upstairs in the same building and also continues to forge strong links with parents.
Its Parents’ Friendship Group meets each Friday to discuss the trials and tribulations of parenthood and aims to help parent share experiences for a positive outcome.
This week the school is celebrating health and fitness with a five-day programme. It started with Move It Monday, today is Tasty Tuesday, tomorrow will be Wellbeing Wednesday followed by Take Care Thursday and Fresh Air Friday.