Bishop of Southampton officially opens new yurt for New Forest pre-school

    Diocesan News
    27 Oct. 2021

    The Bishop of Southampton has visited a pre-school in the New Forest for the official opening of the pre-school’s new yurt.

    The bespoke yurt, surrounded by woodland, has been designed to give 2-5 year olds an environment where they can learn and play while being inspired by the natural world around them. Based in Boldre, the pre-school is one of three Launchpad Early Years settings that have been developed by the Diocese of Winchester’s Social Enterprise. Each pre-school is linked with the local parish or Church school and offers early years education with a Christian ethos and a commitment to excellence.

    Launchpads provide an environment where children can explore, play, and learn with the support of caring and dedicated staff. At her visit to the Boldre pre-school, Bishop Debbie met children who benefit from the education offered there, and also spoke to staff who have developed the new pre-school since its inception in 2019.

    Speaking about her visit, the Right Reverend Debbie Sellin, Bishop of Southampton, said:

    “Seeing the children learning and discovering the world at Launchpad:Boldre was a joy. The new yurt and the rural location make a wonderful setting in which young people can play and learn at the same time. The early years education that Launchpads offer, founded on a Christian ethos, is helping children to be kind, confident and inquisitive. It was great to meet so many of the children who clearly love their time at Launchpad, and it is a real testament to the team there who have achieved so much.”

    Nick Ralph, Director of the Diocese of Winchester’s Social Enterprise said:

    “Our focus at Launchpads is to provide safe, secure and happy environments where we can nurture and inspire children. The new yurt at Boldre offers just that, and we are so proud of everything that the team has achieved in making Launchpad pre-schools places where children receive a fun, stimulating, and valuable learning experience. We want to offer every child at our pre-schools the best possible start in life, underpinned by a Christian ethos and based on the Church of England’s Vision for Education.”

    As well as the new yurt, children at Launchpad:Boldre are also able to explore the pre-school’s three garden areas. One of which is intended for gardening and wildlife, another area is for building dens and exploring sand and water, linking mathematics, language, creativity and imagination to children’s learning. The third garden area is being developed into a communication friendly space, where children can develop a sense of responsibility in caring for the environment and each other.