£10k all-weather boost for Newtownabbey pre-school playgroup

St Bernard’s Pre-school Playgroup in Newtownabbey is to upgrade its play area with National Lottery Community Fund assistance.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 7:29 pm

It will use £10,000 funding to replace the existing soft play surface along with a canopy to cover the outside area at its facility.

Operational in the community for the last 40 years, the playgroup is open five days a week and hosts 24 children in a morning session and 16 in the afternoon.

The four-strong team of permanent staff are helped by a student two days a week and are backed up by a voluntary committee.

Outdoor play surface in line for an upgrade.

Welcoming the funding, Sonia Henderson, deputy leader, said: “We have received £10,000 in funding from the National Lottery Community Fund which has been a big morale boost to all staff and committee members helping us all to look forward to the future.

“The new equipment is replacement of soft surface and an all weather canopy to protect the surface and children from the weather.

“The children having access to the outside area in all weathers will benefit their mental health and well-being especially in these times of Covid.

“It will also ensure that the children can access a wider curriculum covering: ‘World Around Us’, mathematical development, language, physical, personal, social and emotional as well as arts.”

Sonia also reflected on some of the challenges presented by the pandemic.

“We have been very fortunate that we have only closed during the first lockdown.

“This year due to our high standards of cleanliness along with the co-operation of our parents and carers we have had no closures due to Covid infection.

“It has been a very tough year like everyone else we have adapted to online learning via Zoom, Facebook and Seesaw app.

“The staff have already noticed a big change within our job roles teaching ourselves and each other how best to use the different apps to support home learning.”

St Bernard’s Pre-School Playgroup was also introducing a course of yoga lessons from Monday.

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