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Amazing BVIS Early Years Outdoor Area

The Development of the BVIS Early Years Outdoor Area

Those families who have been with us for the past four years may possibly be aware of the timeline of development for our outdoor area in the Early Years department. But I wonder if you are aware of the level of care and research involved in creating such a unique and special area of learning?

BVIS opened in August 2011 with a long strip of green concrete outside the Early Years classrooms (photo 1).

By early 2012 the sand pit was created (photo 2) and later that year the first, large area of shading was installed (photo 3).

In 2013 more shading, the pathways, bamboo fencing, raised area and sections of grass, loose pebbles, crazy paving and gravel were built (photos 4 – 7).

Early Years Climbing Castle

Finally, this academic year saw the installation of the rubber mulch and the climbing castle (photo 8).

Led by Ms Sarah Organ, the development of the area began with the BVIS EYFS teachers and TAs ‘brainstorming’ their ideas. These suggestions were then refined and consolidated through the involvement of Jan White, an outdoor learning consultant in Sheffield, England. Jan White visited the BIS Group of Schools here in Ho Chi Minh City in January 2013 to deliver training specifically about outdoor learning to all the Early Years teachers. Sarah has continued to consult Jan over the past few years as the area has gradually taken shape.

An additional aspect of the research and consultation process was to involve the children themselves. 18 children who have been learners in our F3 classes contributed their ideas for the climbing castle.

During the holidays, the final large element of the outdoor area in our Early Years department arrived – a beautiful wooden climbing castle.

The castle has been specially created for BVIS by a local company that exports to other countries, meeting international health and safety standards. Underneath the castle, the rubber mulch was provided by a Danish/Vietnamese company, again to ensure international standards in health and safety are met at BVIS. It has been designed to be safe for children from Fundinotots upwards.

The castle provides the children with key elements of play using large equipment: climbing; travelling along, up or down; sliding; imaginative play and role play.

The area has been created as an extension of our indoor learning area for Early Years. Its design provides the following for our youngest children here at BVIS:

• Fresh air

• Exercise and the development of physical skills

• Cognitive development

• Bone development

• Social development

• Development of personal and emotional skills

• Risk taking as the children manage different challenges and experiences

• Familiarity and respect for the natural world, which is particularly important for urban dwellers

Ms Sarah Organ, our EYFS Coordinator, has led the development of this outdoor area. She has devoted a huge amount of research and time to this project and we are very grateful for her care and expertise. If you would like to know more, please come along to the Coffee Morning on Friday 22nd May.

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