I wanted to share a short story with you
It may sound unreal but I promise it’s true
So here is my poem on how the outdoors
Can become an inspiring unstoppable force.
It was ten years ago I became a trustee
Of an early years setting that’s local to me
They needed some help, like a fool I took pity
And that’s how I ended up chair of committee.
There was a big problem when I first arrived –
No way we could get our kids playing outside.
The hall had a car park just by the front door
A road ran right past, we’d be fools to ignore.
What use is a space if the cars drive straight through?
There had to be something that we could do
Our hope was to freeflow, that was our dream
And with parents on board, we worked as a team.
We were asked if we’d like to bring up to scratch
Some land by the hall – a dank scruffy patch
We leapt at the offer and asked for donations
We talked of how nature provides inspiration.
How children get brave and they build up their strength
How they talk about numbers and forces and length
How they breathe in fresh air and hear the birds chirp
How they play with the water and dig in the dirt.
So we started our mission, and we all took part
In building the garden that lived in our hearts
We raised all the money and drew up the plans
And that’s how our building project began.
Day one of the build dawned cold, grey and wet
No sign of our lovely new garden yet
We had concrete and gravel, fences and planks
So when the rain stopped we all gave thanks.
Steve put up an arch and he built up the wall
He concreted poles so that they wouldn’t fall
Some local builders gave us free supplies
If you call out for help you may get a surprise.
Day two of our build we got parents together
We battled on through some atrocious weather
We painted, we raked, we dug and we laughed
Our kids all got filthy, they had to be bathed.
We wanted the children to play their part
What better than doing some outdoor art?
So they painted some pebbles, to colour the spaces
Less paint on the pebbles, more on their faces.
Now ten years later our garden has grown
Staff added a mud kitchen, made it their own
Tarpaulins go up, more dens are built
New games get played and water gets spilt.
These days at preschool they’re always outdoors
One thing’s for certain, our garden ensures
They spend more time out there than they spend it inside
I look at our garden and I burst with pride.
With our garden all done, it was time to do more
To create our own forest club in the outdoors
A parent had land in the village to spare
So staff went on training and now we play there.
Outdoors there is challenge, outdoors there is fun
There are places to hide, and spaces to run
We pedal the ride ons, we dig up the worms
We get ourselves fit; we learn to take turns.
No such thing as bad weather, I hear it is said
That idea is only inside your head
So put on your boots, your hat and your coat
If it gets too wet, we can build a boat.
Our garden ain’t big and our garden ain’t smart
But at preschool we love it with all of our hearts
So build your own garden and then they will come
Take them outside, where they can have fun.
No sitting at desks, we are too busy playing
No testing or labelling, hear what we’re saying
Be brave and be bold, make the firmest foundations
Build a garden! Take pride in the joy of creation.
For our under fives do not have to be with us
If we forget that history will not forgive us
So that was my poem and here’s where it ends
Have a magical day all my Firm Foundations friends.