On Monday 6th December Laxton Junior School (LJS) officially opened its Woodland Garden. Staff, pupils and parents all gathered in the playground to celebrate the unveiling of the plaque, which was designed and created in Oundle School’s Patrick Engineering Centre. The ceremony was performed by the Head, Mr Sam Robertson and Mr Timothy Coleridge, Governor at the School and Master of the Worshipful Company of the Grocers.

The design and creation of the Woodland Garden is the product of an exceptional effort across the whole School community including grounds staff, the PFA and every single child at LJS who contributed by planting saplings donated by the Woodland Trust.

Pupils at LJS, along with children from local nurseries who are being invited to make use of the space, all benefit from regular time in the garden, developing a range of outdoor learning skills as well as simply taking everyday lessons outdoors. Just recently, Year 1 enjoyed a Christmas-themed outdoor session, making nature-based decorations, whilst Key Stage 2 children whittled elder beads and braided cord to make their own bracelets. Other regular activities include den building, learning about firecraft in the Fire Garden, practising letters or mathematical concepts in chalk on the wooden Art Wall and performing concerts and plays in the structured Bandstand or inside the Tepee. Being pirates and ‘capturing the flag’ in the Fort has proved a particular hit with the younger members of the School!

Mr Sam Robertson, Head of Laxton Junior School said;
“With the constant lure of technology and two years of being asked to stay at home to differing extents, never has it been more important to bring children, their learning and wellbeing, into the open spaces and natural places of an engaging outdoor environment.”

Heather Poole, Outdoor Learning Lead at LJS, explained;
“Through all of our outdoor learning opportunities, children learn to be resilient, confident and collaborative learners who are able to take positive risks within all environments. It is not simply a lesson, it is a community activity that enables children to focus on care and kindness for each other as well as their environment.”

When asked about time spent in the Woodland Garden, pupils said:

“I like drawing and writing on the Art Wall because you can express your creativity. There is no right or wrong, but if you want to change what you have done you can get a mop and wash it off, or wait for it to rain.” A year 6 pupil.

“I like building dens out of the sticks. And then I like to hide in them so nobody can see me when they walk by.” A Year 1 pupil.