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St Nicholas CE VA Primary School

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Official Opening of KS1 Playground


Interview with Miss Robertson about the NEW Early Years Playground

How important is outdoor play to children’s development and learning?

It’s so important. Children’s learning can benefit from being outdoors for lots of different
reasons. Studies have shown that some of these benefits include:
 It being a quieter environment than the classroom.
 Children can move around more freely, which is shown to aid learning.
 Fresh air has a positive effect on brain function, mood and well-being.

Could you talk me through the new additions to the NEW Early Years Playground.

Yes, the new playground has been an exciting enhancement for the children. It has provided
opportunities for developing all areas of the Early Learning goals.

Rainbow House, named by the children, has replaced the previous wooden hut providing the
children with a fresh, new, colourful space where they are developing their role play,
imaginative storytelling and literacy skills.

The mud kitchen has been moved to a bigger, more natural space that includes a table for
tea parties! This is where they the children can get messy, whilst learning maths skills as
well as make potions and develop social skills all whilst engaging in the natural world.

A reading and sensory nook has been created using colourful ribbons in a lovely calming
space behind the Rainbow House. This area will support children’s personal, social and
emotional development, such as when they are learning to regulate emotion.

The new sandpit supports maths skills, especially with measuring and problem solving and is
always a favourite with the children!

What do the children love the most in the new playground?

I think it has to be the stage. Its completely new. They’ve not had that before and they love
playing the musical instruments and singing.

Which part of the new playground is your favourite and why?

I think it’s the mud kitchen, the natural area. It’s great to have opportunities for children to get
out and spend time playing with natural elements. One of the early learning goals is to
understand the world and this is a great ‘hands on’ way of doing it.

Are there any specific areas of the curriculum that you feel particularly benefit from
outdoor play?

Communication and language development. Because the new resources are so open-ended
they enable the children to communicate with their friends in a completely child-led way. For
example, the Rainbow House and the stage are just blank canvases for them to develop
their imagination in a way that they might not be able to do as well inside the classroom.

Thank You card from Queen Elizabeth II

Topaz received this lovely thank you card from the Queen last week. This exemplifies the sense  of connectedness and kindness which the Queen fostered during her long reign. Queen Elizabeth’s life showed us how to appreciate the gift of life through being  patient, humble and selfless.



Eco Afternoon Generates Excitement for Young Learners

On Thursday 21st October, each class at St Nicholas Primary enjoyed workshops provided by a
range of organisations including; Hornbeam Hedgehog Sanctuary, Rothamsted Research Centre,
Carpenters Nursery and Hertfordshire & Middlesex Wildlife Trust. From learning about the
vulnerability of new born hoglets to the danger of plant pathogens, the afternoon was full of
learning to inspire everyone to care for the environment.

The School Council, made up of pupils of all ages, worked with the PTA Partner to create links
with these members of the local community. They all generously shared their understanding of the
planet with the pupils and left them with important messages for their future. 



“Seeing the hedgehog and making my house was really fun,” Sophia (aged 5).
“I liked singing the worm song and seeing Robert the hedgehog,” Jack (aged 5).

“I used to be scared of bees but now I’m not as I know they are friendly creatures and are just
trying to do their job,” Isla (aged 10).
“I go to put the bees costume on me to protect me. I felt the beeswax. It felt a bit rough like
Braille,” Parker (aged 10).


19 July 2019

St Nicholas school opens new door


Hitchin and Harpenden MP, Bim Afolami joined staff and pupils at the formal opening of the new entrance to St Nicholas Primary school in Harpenden.


Children, staff and governors at the School welcomed Bim who fielded the children’s queries at a special Question Time assembly.


During the assembly the MP was quizzed by children aged 5 to 11 about his views on Brexit, football, his time at school and whether he was famous.


Commenting on his visit, Bim Afolami MP said:

“Education is all about opening doors to opportunity, so today’s event at St Nicholas School was significant both literally and metaphorically.  The questions from the children were insightful and well informed – they certainly prepared me for returning to the House of Commons next week.”


The new entrance to the school sees the original Victorian entrance on Rothamsted Avenue reopened and restored thanks to funding from the Diocese of St Albans, The Harpenden Trust and Allchurches Trust. Deputy Town Mayor and former Chair of Governors at St Nicholas, Nicola Linacre, also attended with representatives from The Harpenden Trust.


Caroline Fleming, Chair of Governors said:

“Academically St Nicholas School is already one of the best performing primary schools in the country, the work we have been carrying out on the buildings over the last 12 months mean that our facilities are rapidly catching up with our educational achievements.  Our new entrance means that visitors to the school – be that parents, guests or the many community groups and others who rent our facilities now receive the best impression of our school from the second they arrive.”


The ribbon was cut by Gill Hill, who retired from the Governing Body in 2018 after 40-years continuous service at the school.


- Ends -

Last Tuesday (25th June) the annual District Sports competition for primary schools across Harpenden and neighbouring villages was held at Sir John Lawes School.


Children from 14 primary schools took part in field sports, followed by sprints, long distance running and relays, all cheered on by a large enthusiastic crowd.  


Congratulations go to St. Nicholas Primary School for an outstanding performance, winning The Boys’ Athletic Cup, The Bonner Cup and The Overall President’s Cup. St. Nicholas also took home the winning trophies for the year 3 & 4 Boys’ and the year 5 & 6 Boys’ Football Tournaments.


It’s the first time that anyone at the school can remember winning the President’s Cup, which is for boys and girls’ combined performance in track and field events. The school – which has 22 pupils per year – was competing against schools four times its size.


The Chair of Governors Caroline Fleming said, “We are incredibly proud of the teamwork and friendly spirit in which the children took part, and what an amazing result!”


Children from St. Nicholas were thrilled to be part of their team.

“I really enjoyed being out there with my friends, doing the sport that I love” said 11 year old Freya.

“The cheer from the crowd was brilliant and it pushed me to go further” said Toby, from year 6.


St Nicholas CE Primary School, Church Green
Harpenden, AL5 2TP