Children at St Sebastian’s Nursery in Marple Bridge can finally play outside as what used to be a car park has been transformed to a colourful and safe play area. On Friday they watched as local MP Andrew Stunell cut the red ribbon and officially declared the grounds for open.
“It’s imaginative and innovative, and I think it’s good that it’s such an informal and irregular space which allows for a lot more options for children to play. So I think it’s really excellent little project,” Mr Stunell said.
The L-shaped area outside the United Reformed Church, which houses the nursery, used to serve as a parking space during church services. It remained empty during nursery hours, however, so the nursery decided to apply for a grant from Stockport City Council to change it into a soft-ground, fenced-in and safe play area.
“The children can explore the outside now,” said St Sebastian Nursery manager Julie Baines.
“They can run around, feel the fresh air, hear the outside sounds. It just extends the inside and makes it a much, much bigger space to explore.”
Having the outdoor play area also allows the nursery to offer local parents full-day care for their children. Ofsted regulations say nurseries with no outdoor area can only offer half-day care.
St Sebastian’s Nursery is run by a parent committee, which has worked along side Julie Baines’ team of early years professionals to get the play area developed.
Sheela Morris, the committee’s chair person, said she was extremely pleased to now be able to allow the children to safely explore what lies outside of the nursery walls.
“They can now go out any time of the year and just get the fresh air and just play. Because kids know how to play, and that’s what it’s doing,” she said.
By Lars Bevanger