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Rowner infants are given new outdoor facilities thanks to Sultan Air Engineers

23 January 2017
Excited children from Rowner Infant School watched on with great anticipation recently as a group of volunteer Air Engineering Technicians (AETs) from HMS Sultan set about the task of upgrading outdoor facilities at the School.

Armed with shovels and spades, the AETs from the Defence College of Technical Training’s Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival Equipment School (RNAESS) set about a number of tasks, including building mud and sand pits for the reception class children to use.

Class teacher Caroline Phillips said: “We had an idea that we would like a mud pit and a sand pit building as it helps with the children’s gross motor and fine motor skills used within handwriting.

"By digging, raking and building in there it helps with their muscular development and also their social and communication skills. We had the idea, but not the muscular ability to do it and so we thought perhaps the Navy could help us and very kindly they came.”

“The children have been so excited having them here, there are a lot of Naval children here at the School and several of them have been asking the volunteers, Do you know my dad?, as well as talking to them about where their parents work and what they do in the Navy.

"It’s great for the children to see positive role models, hopefully this will inspire the next generation.”

It’s great for the children to see positive role models, hopefully this will inspire the next generation.

Class teacher Caroline Phillips

In addition to building sand and mud pits, the AETs tidied up a woodland area, renovated a tool bench and took down an old mud hut and replaced it with a mud construction area.

The AETs from the Defence College of Technical Training’s Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival Equipment School (RNAESS) were supervised by Chief Petty Officer Neil ‘Soups’ Campbell. He said: “When we arrived the area was looking a bit old and dilapidated, but the trainees have loved being out here and have really bonded in doing the tasks, it’s been really fantastic.”

“All of the volunteers have commented on how good it is to be out making a positive contribution toward the local community. We’ve had a lot of input throughout the day from all of the children who can’t wait to get in there, asking when it will be finished.”

Among the children watching on, who seemed impressed by the sailors was four year old Aiden Harris who said: “They’ve been making a mud pit and sand pit. I can’t wait to make a sand castle. The outfits they wear are really, really good.”

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