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Find a place for outrdoor adventure

During the past two years we have spent a great deal of money building lots of adventure play equipment which has had a great impact on the quality of play and behaviour. But all this extra stimulation can't compete with the simple things in life.

We are building an extension to one of our entrances and in the process removing a great deal of soil to build the foundations. This soil was tipped on to our mound area at the side of our field.

During the first playtime, children from all age groups were standing on the soil, digging with sticks, collecting clay clods, finding and collecting worms and just holding and playing with the earth in their hands.

We hear constantly from early-years practitioners about children not wanting to get their hands dirty, and from medical "experts" that playing in the soil can help to boost children's immune systems.

So when your local builder is looking to dispose of some quality clay, make a place available on your site and your pupils will be able to enjoy hours of play. They can investigate wildlife, you will help them to ward off diseases, and it won't cost you a penny. Oh, and I nearly forgot: put it down on your school self-evaluation form and let your parents know the benefits of environmental studies.

Doug Welsh

Headteacher,

Nunthorpe primary school,

Middlesbrough

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