Nature Nursery supports Froebel’s ethos of ‘learning about nature, in nature.’ Groups of 12 children spend five hours a day, 10am-3pm over a period of six weeks outside in a woodland environment. This environment enables children the freedom to explore, to take risks, to challenge themselves and to gain a greater understanding of the natural world from real experiences.
Like Forest Schools, we allow children to explore fire, tools and other new experiences. However, our sessions are longer than most Forest School sessions, allowing more time to develop new skill and a better understanding. Our children will have the opportunity to ‘wallow’ in nature, climb trees, explore streams, wade through mud, slide down slopes, navigate ditches, build dens and fires and use real tools such as saws and knives.
Children develop their self-confidence and self-esteem using all their senses to experience the natural world, such as the musty damp smell of autumn, the sounds of the wind in the trees, the taste of freshly picked blackberries, the thrill of rolling down a grassy bank. They learn the importance of collaborating and working together, how to assess and manage risk. We encourage children to be part of our risk assessments, supporting a better understanding of risk and danger. All of our high risk experiences are also introduced as a process, allowing time and a greater understanding of what it is we are focusing our learning. We also have a higher ratio of adults to children allowing 1:1 learning during risky activities.
Nature Nursery environments support greater amounts of freedom to explore, play and to seek adventure. There are no walls or ceilings to restrict play and as we are in the natural world, the learning environment is constantly changing and full of potential and opportunity.
Our Nature Nurseries are based at North Baddesley and Ampfield. Our children from other nurseries are offered sessions through the year and are transported by our Nursery vehicles to the Nature Nursery sites.
All our Nurseries take our children for trips and visits around the local community, including parks, woodlands, shops and libraries. Many will venture further in our ‘Nursery vehicles, as well as the local bus and trains. Visits to places of interest can energise and inspire children and they offer genuine first hand experiences which extend their understanding of the world, of people, places and things.