The impetus for many projects to transform outside spaces often comes from an enthusiastic individual or fundraising committee with a specific idea about something the school or setting could have outside, like a pond, growing area or trim trail.
In our experience, the best projects start by clearly defining what you want to do outside and the difference you want this to make for children or young people. For example, is the priority a need to tackle behaviour at break-times? Do you want to develop more engaging ways of delivering the curriculum? Or is there a need to get children more active? Maybe you want to connect children more closely with nature and help develop their environmental awareness?
Our facilitators and resources help schools through a step-by-step process enabling you to define what you want to achieve, assess what you have to work with and identify how best to bridge the gap between the two.
Even if you only have a very small budget, we recommend developing a big picture vision first. You can then break this down into mini projects as resources allow. That way you can ensure, for example, that you don’t build your pond where you later realise would have been a better site for your story telling area.
Before you start, we also urge you to consider the value of pupil engagement. Obviously consulting them about what they think about their current space and what they would like to do outdoors will help you create change that works for children, but we’ve also discovered and developed ways to harness the whole project as a vehicle for real-life learning.