Pri­mary opens new com­mu­nity room

The Sentinel - - NEWS - Kathie Mcinnes Ed­u­ca­tion Re­porter kather­[email protected]­plc.com

PAR­ENTS have wel­comed a new com­mu­nity room at their chil­dren’s school where they can ac­cess a range of sup­port and ac­tiv­i­ties.

The Tree­house room at Oakhill Pri­mary is part of a £19,500 in­vest­ment in new fa­cil­i­ties and has been kit­ted out with comfy seat­ing, a mini-kitchen, books and play equip­ment. There is also space for meet­ings, drop-in ses­sions and adult and fam­ily learn­ing classes.

The newly ex­tended room used to be home to the school’s li­brary, which has now been re­lo­cated to an­other part of the build­ing.

Lead learn­ing men­tor Jo So­m­ogy said: “We are aim­ing to open it on de­mand. We want to bring more peo­ple from the com­mu­nity into school.

“We will be hav­ing free ‘stay and play’ for pre-school learn­ers, chill and chat ses­sions and a par­ent­ing pro­gramme.

“There will also be health dropins on a va­ri­ety of top­ics, rang­ing from pe­riod poverty to den­tal health. We are look­ing at links with the West End Cen­tre as well.”

School nurses have al­ready been of­fer­ing fam­ily tips on den­tal hy­giene.

Alana Smith-ord, a spe­cial­ist nurse with the team, said: “Our tar­get this year is to re­duce den­tal de­cay. We will be talk­ing to par­ents about it and en­sur­ing chil­dren are reg­is­tered with den­tists. If not, we can sign­post them to a den­tist.”

Stoke Speaks Out – the scheme pro­mot­ing early lan­guage and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills – is also plan­ning to run work­shops for fam­i­lies at the Tree­house.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion cham­pion Shirley Ot­t­away said: “We do 45 min­utes just with the par­ents, where we share the best strate­gies for read­ing and get­ting chil­dren away from gad­gets. At the end of the ses­sion, the chil­dren come in and there’s a fun ac­tiv­ity.”

The new com­mu­nity room has been jointly funded through an Awards for All lot­tery grant and Stoke-on-trent City Coun­cil’s com­mu­nity in­vest­ment fund. Some of the £19,500 has also gone to­wards a new out­door gym at Oakhill Pri­mary.

Mum-of-three Hay­ley Dud­ley has been im­pressed with the fa­cil­i­ties.

The 30-year-old, from Trent Vale, said: “It’s good. I’ll be us­ing it more for my lit­tle one, who is two years old. He is just about to start nurs­ery and it will help get him used to com­ing to places.”

Fel­low par­ent Lucy Light­foot, whose chil­dren are aged eight and 12, is also plan­ning to use The Tree­house. The 35-year-old, from Trent Vale, said: “I’m do­ing some par­ent­ing classes, IT and sign lan­guage here. I’m also go­ing to come to the room for PTA meet­ings. Be­fore, you had to book a room in school for things. Hav­ing this room is lovely.”

Mum-of-three Sally Ares is also plan­ning to learn sign lan­guage through the new class and visit the room for other ac­tiv­i­ties. The 35-year-old, from Oakhill, said: “It’s great. The fa­cil­i­ties are much bet­ter.”

Pic­ture: Leanne Bag­nall

FUN: Home School link worker An­gela Keay and lo­cal Tree­house Room user Ma­son Dud­ley, aged two.

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