There are some very happy bunnies in Plum Class at Dashwood Banbury Academy, in Oxford, where three- and four-year-olds are now learning through play in a much improved outdoor area – thanks to a donation from Bishopsgate.
Managing director Tim Bloch was approached by teacher Ella Cox, who asked for support to expand and upgrade the children’s early learning opportunities. She said: “We are a nursery class which really enjoys spending lots of time exploring and learning outdoors – there are no special times for the outdoor discovery sessions, the children can and do learn outside at any time of the day, rain or shine.”
As a fervent believer in the importance of learning through play, and an enthusiastic advocate of outdoor living, learning, and playing, Tim swiftly agreed to fund the project. He said: “I loved the fact that all the children had a hand in the letter, or should I say a finger on it!” – the children’s “signatures” were at the bottom of letter to Bishopsgate.
The Academy had gained ownership of a piece of grassland, and the inspiration to utilise it for the outdoor upgrade came from the Dashwood Early Years team. Once the funding was in place, Ella and her team put together a gardening area, a bug hotel, and a mud kitchen – phase one completed!
Next year, a reading corner and a construction area will be added for Plum Class and other early-days learners.
And to underline Bishopgate’s place in the Banbury community, it seems the children and teachers at Dashwood are great fans of the company’s distinctive fleet of vehicles. Ella said: “We all enjoy seeing your big, blue trucks, the children get very excited as they travel by. We teachers also challenge one another to answer the quiz on the backs of the trucks!”
(If you’ve ever got stumped while in a traffic jam, you’ll find the answers to the tricky questions displayed on our trucks here https://bishopsgate.co.uk/quizjam/ )
Last words to Tim: “The recent pandemic has underlined just how important outdoor pursuits can be, and I’m glad Bishopsgate has been able to help the Dashwood team to enhance the children’s development in their new discovery areas.
“It’s a pleasure to invest in such a worthwhile endeavour, and I look forward to hearing about next year’s outdoor additions at Dashwood.”