Donation funds new outdoor learning area for Olney Pre-School

A Buckinghamshire pre-school has upgraded their new outdoor learning area to educate children on sustainability thanks to donations from two businesses.

Olney Pre-School has received a donation of £500 to enhance their area to develop the children’s understanding of plants and to explore sustainability.

The donation was made by Deeley Construction and Kingsley Healthcare Group, with both businesses currently involved in the creation of a new 66-bedroom high quality care home in Olney.

The companies have also donated gardening equipment and seeds for the children to use in the nature area.

Olney Pre-School is a registered charity and has been running from The Olney Centre on the High Street since 1968

It operates on a not-for-profit basis for the community in Olney. The pre-school currently looks after 71 children and received an extension to its outside area from The Olney Centre.

The donation has led to the development of a range of planting areas, with insect-attracting flowers, scented plants for sensory elements and salad vegetables for children to enjoy at snack time.

It has also enabled the purchasing of resources to create a small wildlife pond for children to inspect, and the development of a shaded comfy reading area amongst the planting area.

The pre-school plans to use the remaining funds to purchase bulbs and pots for a planting activity in the autumn. It will see children planting a bulb to take home and then asking parents to send photos to document the growth of the plant.

Lucy French, deputy supervisor at Olney Pre-School, has been the driving force behind the creation of the garden.

Abigail Chippendale, setting manager at Olney Pre-School, says the donation came at the perfect time to enable the school to carry out its plans.

“We already had space for play and exploration but knew we wanted to develop a natural area to promote the children’s understanding of planting, to attract insects and to explore sustainability.

“The donation from Deeley Construction and Kingsley Healthcare came at exactly the right moment and has enabled us to develop the area far beyond our original expectations.

“It’s made a huge difference already to how the children are able to play in the garden, we can help them to learn more about nature in these new spaces and the pond has a been a big hit.

“To get donations like this is enormous for us. We run as not-for-profit and keep fees as low as we can. For anything extra, we fundraise and having support from companies in the community is really important in helping create memorable experiences for children during their time with us.”

Deeley Construction expects work to be completed on the new care home in Olney in April 2024, with the home scheduled to open in Spring 2024.

Martin Gallagher, Managing Director of Deeley Construction, said: “It’s fantastic to see the children at the pre-school already using this new space and gaining new knowledge about nature, plants and the environment.

“This is a great new learning environment for the children and we are proud to have been able to play a part in its creation.”   

Kingsley Healthcare Chief Investment Officer Muj Malik, said: “As a company we are passionate about supporting the local communities where are care homes are built. Successful care homes depend on being at the heart of their community and it is vital for us to engage with local people. It is great to see the fantastic work being done at Olney Pre-School in educating youngsters in sustainability.”