Opening January 2015 from 8.00am to 5.30pm, Nurture Outdoor Kindergarten is based at Top Barn Farm at Holt Heath. Surrounded by trees and open fields, Top Barn includes a working farm, activity centre, farm park, and a rural training centre (and lots more), which children will explore with the early years teachers at Nurture Outdoor Kindergarten. This is the first outdoor kindergarten in Worcestershire, open all year round including half term holidays.
Top Barn and Nurture Outdoor Kindergarten are inviting local families of young children to an open day on Sunday 14th December (11am to 3pm). The open day will be filled with fun activities for children and their parents. “It’s a great opportunity to meet our teachers, practitioners and other parents.”
As we speak there are children trying out the various outdoor resources at this unique kindergarten,
“Where’s the wheelbarrow?” asks one eager 3 year old boy.
"Let’s go and see if we can find it," says Helen Reeve, as she takes the 3 year old by the hand.
"I’m making a hill for climbing", he says.
And there he is, using the wheelbarrow to transport soil from one end of the kindergarten where the giant sandpit is, to the other where a big dirt hill is developing. He’s working closely with his peer who is demonstrating the art of climbing the dirt hill.
“No, put it there for sliding”, the boy says having slid down the dirt hill. He shows him where to empty the wheelbarrow so that they can make a slide by putting the soil there.
This wonderful effort to work together echoes how children can explore co-operation and negotiation at Nurture Outdoor Kindergarten, enhancing social, physical and cognitive development.
"They’re exploring tricky physical elements such as balance involving the wheelbarrow and climbing the dirt hill, and also using natural materials to complete their own project together." Helen Reeve explains. "There's always a deeper lesson."
Indeed, this farm-based outdoor kindergarten is full of them. Helen Reeve, Early Years Teacher and the Co-Founder of Nurture Outdoor Kindergarten describes her approach to early years education as nature-based and holistic;
“In recent decades, we know that children have become less inclined to spend time outdoors learning vital physical, cognitive and emotional lessons from nature. This was one of the driving forces behind establishing Nurture Outdoor Kindergarten and our own approach to early years education.”
“Our Nature Nurtures approach is inspired by the philosophies of Scandinavian and German Kindergartens and promotes the importance of outdoor experiences for young children, because through nature we are able to engage their senses, inspire curiosity, awe and wonder, and fuel creativity and imagination - essential ingredients for exploration, learning and development.”
Using the Nature Nurtures approach, each day at kindergarten will incorporate farm chores, such as feeding and watering the animals, gathering eggs, growing vegetables and harvesting them for baking afternoon snacks. "It's all part of our day. All the learning is done around the children’s interests.”
As if on cue, one of the boys discovers a single tiny speckled egg shell under the trees next to the dirt hill. “Oh wow!” he whispers excitedly, holding it carefully with both hands. “A egg. Look!”, and with that he’s off to show everyone his little piece of nature treasure.
For more information about the kindergarten and how to register your child please contact Nurture Outdoor Kindergarten at:
T: 01905 641 013