Making change for play

DSCN1842Spring has arrived and the beautiful cherry blossom greeted us all on our return after the Easter break. Always the first to make the most of new opportunities, the children have incorporated catkins, daisies, cherry blossom and dandelion flowers into their play. The Reception children have enjoyed their first lunchtime up on the school field. Now the warmer, drier weather has arrived we'll be using this great space as often as possible.

A change in the season gives us a chance to look back over the 6 months and the changes we have made across our site, all with the plan of making Blue Coat a better place for play. Some changes have been obvious, such as the creation of our Mud Kitchen. Others have been more slow or subtle. A new mowing regime on the field should give us long grass meadow path this summer. Trees planted at the Family Forest School day are bursting into life. Willow cuttings planted on a cold winter's morning are changing the flow of play in the Infant Adventure Playground.

The slideshow below brings together some of the elements of transformation. The plan for play continues - we are now looking at developing the grassy mound behind the Top Court, fundraising for an orchard and giant sandpit, and all are welcome to the wildflower meadow planting morning on Sat 25 April .


Small spaces for play

Storage bench denWhilst some Blue Coat pupils head straight for the wide-open, fast moving pace of the Top Playground for games of basketball or playing tag, many others seek out the quieter nooks and crannies of the playground.

There are many small play spaces across the site. They can be as simple as a quiet corner, a dry strip under a window sill, squeezing behind a bench or  bush, or tucking away in the new 'Creature Corner'.
These areas provide rich social play experiences, and are great for uninterupted imaginative play. The children make these spaces their own and the playground landscape is ever-changing. Coats on the floor create comfy 'beds', tyres are arranged and rearranged for seats, a storage bench becomes a temporary den, and creative artistic arrangements of natural materials are discovered at tidy-up time nearly every day!

As we further develop our areas for play, we will clear and create more 'small spaces', providing quieter corners and opportunities for relaxation, socialisation and play.

Mud Kitchen arrives! March 2015

IMG 3045During the February break, a transformation has been happening to the muddy area behind the play sheds in the Infant playground.
With help from a grant from Gloucestershire County Council's Active Together scheme, plus volunteer time from Tyler Grange LLP, the Blue Coat Parents for Play group and PTA, the 400m2 area has been changed into Blue Coat's Mud Kitchen.

This area has been out of bounds during the wetter winter months, due to slippery, muddy conditions. Now the ground is covered in 25m3 of play-grade bark chip, allowing it be accessed throughout the whole year.
The new space combines natural materials, such as logs, bark, pine cones and tree stumps, with recycled materials such as pots and pans, tyres and tables. Outdoor storage allows everything to be tidied away. The whole area is edged with wood donations from Westonbirt Arboretum.
We hope the Mud Kitchen will provide many new opportunities for creative and active outdoor play. All we need to do now is add the children!

Many thanks to ALL who contributed. Here is the transformation:

...and here are the children putting it to the test at break time on the first Monday back!


What did you play with today?

DSCN1483Over the last week all eyes have been on Blue Coat's Mud Kitchen, as we launched the new play space and even welcomed a reporter from BBC Radio Gloucestershire for a live interview on site!
However, the Mud Kitchen is just one of the spaces available to children at break and lunchtime. Blue Coat is lucky to have a variety of outdoor spaces and the long-term plan is to make the very best of all areas and to continue on-site development with play in mind.

As parents do not get to see what happens during lunchtime, this web page will be used to give a virtual window onto the playground. A common enquiry from parents is about what toys and equipment there are for the children to play with at lunchtime, so the following slideshow shows some of the 'tools of play' available over the last week. Not everything is captured here - it's very difficult to get a good shot of the older children running and throwing on the Top Playground as they move so quickly!

Outdoor Play in Winter

DSCN0115The children have been enjoying outdoor play at break at lunchtimes, wrapping up and getting out-and-about despite the recent cold temperatures.

We had a fantastic Forest School Open Morning in late January, planting young trees and willow on the top field, plus a whole host of other activities, including den building, bug hunting, clay sculptures and willow weaving.

The keen-eyed amongst you may have noticed a new shed next to the Infant Playground. This addition will become Blue Coat's new Scrap Shed later this spring, offering new creative and imaginative play opportunities, including construction and role play. Many thanks to Blue Coat's PTA for raising funds for both the tree saplings and the Scrap Shed.

The slideshow below contains a selection of recent photos from the playground to give you a flavour of activity at lunchtime.


Head's Tweet

from Mr Ryan

We will be open on Monday 19th March. Please see the News article for drop-off arrangements...

Sunday at 3:20pm