A new outdoor learning area at St Mary’s Primary School, Bellagh, was officially opened last week by the Education Minister, John O’Dowd.
Costing over £30,000, the facility incorporates innovative outdoor learning features, including physical and sensory development equipment, a roofed area for science investigations and an outdoor classroom made from natural willow.
“Learning about the environment and the world we live in is an integral part of the curriculum, starting from the earliest stages,” said Mr O’Dowd after he cut the ribbon.
“Innovative facilities like this new outdoor learning area at St Mary’s are an excellent way of helping young children get involved with and enjoy these important aspects of education.
“The outdoor classroom and roofed area offer children the opportunity to get hands-on in their investigations of the outside world in an enjoyable and interactive way.
“Furthermore, this outdoor facility includes sensory and physical development equipment which will help the pupils build their physical literacy and their cognitive abilities, attributes that will in turn benefit their overall learning and development in the classroom.
“It is vital that children develop from a young age the habit of exercise and healthy living – exciting facilities like this can only encourage them to do so.”
The Minister added: “I commend the staff and governors at St Mary’s for securing the support of the Big Lottery Fund and for investing school funds in this important project. I hope it brings enjoyment and learning to many local children well into the future.”