Outdoor preschool celebrates opening of Engineering Shed

An outdoor preschool is celebrating after officially opening its ‘Engineering Shed’, which will support its children in practicing engineering-related activities.

Riding Mill Preschool recently moved into the grounds of Broomhaugh First School where, as part of its innovative approach, the youngsters enjoy spending up to 90 percent of their time outdoors.

The preschoolers were already able to read and relax in a yurt and outdoor classroom. However, the charity has now weatherproofed the outdoor classroom and has renamed it the Engineering Shed – complete with a new sign.

Carole Smith, chairman of the management committee, said: “It’s fantastic to have weatherproofed the outdoor classroom, which has enabled it to be transformed into the Engineering Shed.

“This is now the hub for any engineering-related activities the children wish to take part in, from designing, to building, to painting. It’s a valuable addition to further stimulate their imagination and creativity.

“The children now have two fantastic resources to further enhance their outdoor play and learning activities.

Initially, the preschool faced a steep bill for the work and approached Riding Mill-based offshore engineering firm Osbit for help.

Carole said the preschool’s approach to outdoor play has helped stimulate the children’s learning abilities and has encouraged greater creativity and physical activity.

“The children spend 90 percent of their time outside playing, climbing and making things,” she added. “They come in their waterproofs and wellies and really love to play in the wet and the mud.

“They are active all day and we are really seeing the benefits of being outdoors in terms of the children’s confidence, co-operation and general well-being.”

The preschool moved into part of the grounds of the First School from their previous home in the village’s Millennium Hall.

Tony Trapp, founder of Osbit and its Executive Chairman, said: “We are used to solving complex problems involving some of the world’s largest energy companies – so it was a pleasure to make such a difference to Riding Mill Preschool with a simple donation.

“The village is home to Osbit so it is important to the company to be part of the community and support a local organisation which provides children with the chance to express their creative talents. Hopefully, sparking their interest in all things practical at a young age could encourage them to become engineers of the future.”