Primary school opens new play area to help deaf pupils build vocabulary

A pupil explores the colourful tunnel in the deaf alternative resource provision (ARP) outdoor learning space.

An Eastbury Primary pupil explores the colourful tunnel in the deaf alternative resource provision (ARP) outdoor learning space. - Credit: Eastbury Primary School

A new outdoor learning area opened at a Barking school will help deaf primary pupils grow their vocabulary.

Eastbury Primary School’s deaf alternative resource provision (ARP) playground features a colourful tunnel, two playhouses, a giant story chair and a picnic table.

The facilities will support role play to help the deaf children build their vocabulary in speech and sign language.

Barking and Dagenham councillor Evelyn Carpenter with Eastbury Primary School vice-chair Huma Raza

Barking and Dagenham councillor Evelyn Carpenter officially opened the new outdoor learning space at Eastbury Primary School with vice-chair of its governing body Huma Raza. - Credit: Eastbury Primary School

Sensory play equipment - including sand, water and a mud kitchen - offer a fun way for them to develop their fine and gross motor skills and their understanding of new concepts.

Eastbury Primary headteacher Lisa Shepherd said: “With the borough’s financial support, we have created a very special place for children to learn.

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“We are now able to provide exciting outdoor learning experiences to develop children’s skills and knowledge.

“Pupils particularly enjoy having storytime outside, sitting around the giant story chair."

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The picnic table in the ARP’s outdoor area has also proved popular and is used for a range of activities, including snack time, writing and maths.

Barking and Dagenham councillor Evelyn Carpenter, who is cabinet member for school improvement and educational attainment, helped officially open the new space, along with vice-chair of the school’s governing body Huma Raza and the council’s group manager for early years, Joy Barter.

Cllr Carpenter said: “It was wonderful to see the outdoor area in person, it was beautifully decorated to celebrate the occasion, and I was pleased to cut the ribbon to declare it open.

“The children will really benefit from the new facilities, and it’s great to see them having fun as they develop key skills.”

The ARP offers 12 places for children with moderate, severe or profound hearing loss and an educational health care plan.

They are supported by specialist staff, including teachers of the deaf, communicators and speech and language therapists.

The deaf children are involved in all mainstream activities, assemblies and trips.

They also take part in additional trips to ensure they have a strong understanding of deafness and their deaf identity.

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