Outdoors Early Years Development (Magpie Pre-School, Leicester)

TheVERYidea artists were involved in helping Magpie Pre-School (formerly Magpie Playgroup, part of Eyres Monsell and Gilmorton Children's Centre) develop their new outdoor space, which as a new-build, was a blank and muddy canvas. The parents and children were consulted and involved in various ways and initial plans to make some willow dens/houses at the bottom dell area were obstructed by a very muddy patch of garden. The children were asked how to solve the problem of getting across the mud - "Walk round it…a superhero and fly over"…. "I have an idea - we need boots." Others suggested "Sticks, logs….I know rocks…. we need a shovel." Then a child suggested "build a bridge". Matt had bought short lengths of wood which were easy for the children to move about. They were carried down to the mud and with little adult input, other than questions, they started to lay one length and then walk on it to lay another. Other children followed and showed good teamwork and co-operation in making their "bridge" over the mud, and were all able to cross over to the bund and dell area. A great example of children's sustained shared thinking.

Further outdoor provocations were later installed by the artists in the form of a variety of sensory devices which encouraged the children to experiment with cause and effect. These included Giant Xylophone, Stake-Forest, Water Station, Thwacker, Sound-Spinner, Viewing Wall and Scaffold-Pole Metallaphone.


On this page is the first part of the project...


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