Our nursery has been designed for its purpose. We are continually reviewing and developing our facilities and reflecting on our practice, to ensure both our indoor and outdoor environments provide rich, varied and safe spaces for children to learn and develop and that our practice is evidence based and fully reflects the needs of the individual children we care for.
Whilst children attending Nursery spend lots of time outdoors playing, learning and exploring the natural environment, we recognised that the quality of our indoor environment is of equal importance. Internally, the Nursery has been completely redesigned to meet our Scandinavian Forest School philosophy. We have deliberately ensured that the Nursery is bright, light and spacious. All our indoor furniture, fittings and many of our toys are made from light, natural wood. We have deliberately installed very large floor to ceiling sliding windows in our ground floor units in order to allow as much natural light to flow into the building as possible. These large windows can be opened to allow children direct access to fresh air all day and view our outdoor leaning area. We have fitted adjustable SAD lighting, which mimics natural daylight, to make our internal environment as natural as is possible.
The Nursery encourages child-led learning; the resources we provide inside the Nursery are accessible to all children so they can independently choose where they play, what they play with and who they play with. Our staff then facilitate learning and development, linking activities to the EYFS and the Characteristics of Effective Learning.
We have recently completely redesigned the Nursery play area to provide a number of discrete individual learning areas where children can play and learn in small groups. This area has been reconstructed using only natural materials and planted with fruit and other trees. We deliberately do not use any tarmac or artificial ground covering in our Outdoor Learning Area, just natural grass.
Although we spend a lot of time outside, we follow the Government’s Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum (EYFS) which is incorporated into all that we do, whether inside or outside. We are heavily influenced by Scandinavian philosophies which emphasises learning through play in a relaxed and stimulating environment and where children learn respect for themselves, others and their environment. Outdoor play, exploration and activities learning activities are organised and encouraged all year round. We would just prefer for our children to practice counting real trees in their natural environment, rather than counting them from pictures in a book or on an iPad, whilst sat at a desk in artificial light.
Our philosophy draws heavily upon Scandinavian models of childcare and therefore children undertake a large amount of activities away from the Nursery in woodland and other natural environments. The Nursery has purchased a completely secure and private nine acre field in Denholme, which it is in the process of developing into its own forest school facility, where children can be taken to enjoy playing and learning all day in a totally natural environment.
We also consider ourselves as part of our local community and believe that children should grow up to know and appreciate the community in which they live and use the facilities that it offers. Therefore, children attending the Nursery are taken out on daily trips to various places in the local area. For example, we visit local shops, the library, pet shop, a local residential care home as well as nearby parks and woodland.