THERE were celebrations with a festive flavour as youngsters marked the official opening of a new outdoor learning area.

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Aldeburgh Primary School has been running a campaign to help pay for a raft of improvements for its early years pupils.

Yesterday they officially opened the second phase of the project, which is a row of three shops to encourage role play and help with mental arithmetic.

To say thank you to all those who have supported the project, pupils hosted an afternoon of mince pies and mulled wine and sang Away in a Manager.

The improvements have been funded through the Learning’s Exciting at Aldeburgh Primary (LEAP) campaign, which has seen the local community donate around £12,000.

Headteacher Debbie Gayler said they would like to say a huge thank you to all those who have helped.

“It has been a fantastic effort by all involved,” she said. “We can’t thank people enough.

“There is a row of three shops with interchangeable signs. It means the children can explore role play and improve their speaking and listening skills as well as use the shops to support their mental mathematics.

“We had 18 children start in September, which is more than we have ever had before.

“As a result we had to adapt the curriculum so that it has a good early years focus but still stretches the year one children as well.” The first phase of the outdoor learning area was completed earlier this year and includes a stage, digging area – which is currently being used as an allotment – and a sandpit.

The indoor facilities have also been improved, including a new ceiling and doorway that allows youngsters to move freely between their classroom and the outdoor area.

The fundraising will continue into 2013, as the youngsters are now trying to raise enough money for a sensory garden, which will hopefully be complete by Easter.

Anyone who would like to make a donation to the school’s latest campaign to raise money to build a school sensory garden can send a cheque, payable to Aldeburgh School Fund, to Aldeburgh Primary School, Park Road, Aldeburgh, IP15 5EU .

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