Enhancing outdoor learning in Bristol

Located in the heart of the city, St Phillips Marsh Nursery School provides an essential green space for children to play and learn in Bristol. The nursery recently received funding from our Environment Fund to make improvements to its outdoor space.

We spoke to Heidi Taylor, who is an Early Years Learning Practitioner at the nursery, to find out more.

Why is your outdoor space so important?

Heidi: Our wonderful garden is critical to the education and mental wellbeing of local children and it has been incredibly important during the pandemic, especially for families living in high rise accommodation with little access to the outdoors and green spaces.

What is your garden used for?

Heidi: Children use our garden to learn to grow and cook vegetables, observe wildlife and gain a better understanding of the natural world. They also have access to a space where they can run, climb and explore which reinforces their learning and keeps them active.

Who else benefits from your facilities?

Heidi: Now that things have begun returning to normal, we hope to offer our little urban oasis to more groups of people, including volunteer groups, the elderly and adults with learning disabilities. We think it’s important everyone has the opportunity to spend time outside in a safe environment.

New play equipment in a school playground
New play equipment at St Phillips Marsh Nursery School.

How has our funding helped?

Heidi: Our outdoor space required some basic maintenance and improvements. We have used the funding to purchase new equipment, including sheds, hammocks, water butts, bird feeders and more, which will help us to enhance our outdoor learning and forest school opportunities.

Tell us a bit about what you have planned for the future!

Heidi: We are going to plant trees to help combat air pollution as this is a big problem in Bristol. Also, by building bug hotels, ponds and bird feeders, we want to teach visitors about important environmental issues, while also improving the biodiversity of our garden.