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our outdoor nature school

Imagine a tiny cottage sitting on the doorstep to a woodland, surrounded by trees, birds and wildlife. Well, that's pretty much what our 'cottage in the woods' is like. It really is idyllic.


This Outdoor Nature School is one of our two sites that operate outdoors all day, every day, offering education to children 2-4 years, learning in and with nature.


If you cast your mind back to your own childhood, how many of those memories are of sitting in a classroom, at a table, learning facts and information that you would later be asked to regurgitate - often to a test? I'm guessing not many. For most of us, the memories were of times outside, playing with friends, often without adults around, where we had unstructured time to play, feed our curiosity, use our imaginations and ideas. It wasn't about toys or technology and it usually focused on exploration, discovery and managing risk - in nature. 

On the whole, children are spending less time outdoors in nature with opportunities for open ended play, for various reasons, yet the need for it is the same. And so, with this in mind, along with our long standing value to children learning in nature, we worked hard to create two outdoor sites that would gift our children these open-ended opportunities that nurture holistic development outdoors. One of these sites is 'the cottage', which was referred to by the HMI Inspectors responsible for our 2022 Inspection, as 'the cottage in the woods'. 


Children in our school spend approximately 3 weeks at the cottage with their family group and key person, along with the lead teacher based at the cottage. We call this time a residential, as this becomes the children's sole nursery provision for those 3 weeks. Children are dropped off and picked up from the cottage by parents for their usual hours. Spending time together at the cottage means that we get to know our children even better and of course, we do more as a family group. We can go into 'the beyond' and explore nature outside the cottage grounds for 'hikes' and on occasions, invite families to join us. 


The cottage is a very special place, where deep level learning with nature takes place across the seasons and in all weathers and it's where we are privileged to witness children in their element and having the time of their lives - beyond their wildest dreams.  







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