Birch Wood Special School provides for children aged 4-19 with Special Educational Needs from the local community of Melton Mowbray and across Leicestershire and Rutland. The school currently has 150 students on roll with a range of moderate, severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties, physical difficulties, vision and hearing impairments, emotional and behavioural difficulties and Autism Spectrum Disorders.
With a £500 grant from Mars in the Community, the school was able to provide their students and other groups that use the facility outside of term time with a specially designed Mud Kitchen, to provide a safe environment in which the students can explore and experience natural play, which promotes wellbeing and a range of transferable social, developmental and educational skills.
The grant enabled a designated area to be created, including the hire of plant tools, brick laying, concrete and screed, erection of security fencing , the design and build of 4 bespoke outdoor kitchenette play stations, all associated labour costs and the purchase of waterproof/protective playsuits. Where possible, equipment was up-cycled and recycled.
The students have benefitted from an increase in physical activity and from their experience of natural safe play. In addition, some of the school’s more able students were involved in the groundworks which enhanced their work experience and skills for life.
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