THE Bishop of Southampton visited a New Forest pre-school to open an outdoor facility with space for 24 children.

The tented addition, known as a yurt, aims to give youngsters a place where they can learn and play while being inspired by the natural world around them.

The Boldre-based pre-school is one of three Launchpad Early Years settings that have been developed by the Diocese of Winchester’s Social Enterprise.

During her visit the Right Rev Debbie Sellin, Bishop of Southampton since 2019, met many of the children and also spoke to staff.

She said: "Seeing the children learning and discovering the world at Launchpad:Boldre was a joy.

"The 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 is helping children to be kind, confident and inquisitive."

The Bishop of Southampton visited the Launchpad:Boldre pre-school to open a tented learning centre.

The Bishop of Southampton visited the Launchpad:Boldre pre-school to open a tented learning centre.

Bishop Debbie said the children clearly loved their time at Launchpad: Boldre, adding: "It's 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.

"We are so proud of everything 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.”

Children at Launchpad:Boldre are also able to explore the pre-school’s three garden areas.

One of the area is intended for gardening and wildlife while another is for building dens and exploring sand and water - linking mathematics, language, creativity and imagination to children’s learning.

The third area is being developed into a space where children can develop a sense of responsibility in caring for the environment and each other."