We have extensive, fully enclosed and secure gardens. There are five main areas:
- three general play areas for babies, toddlers and pre-school – with a large covered area, built to enable children to play outdoors in all weathers
- a natural area (our on-site forest school)
- a sensory garden
We have added a new artificial grass all-weather play area. There are also purpose-built sand play pits, outdoor play equipment, wooden canopied shelters, chalk boards, ‘free’ digging areas, and toy storage sheds and boxes where children can choose their own toys. Indoor toys can also be taken outdoors by children.
Children have plenty of safe and secure space to run, explore, and feel ‘free’ in the fresh air, which has an invaluable impact on their all-round health.
We also have policies in place to ensure children are kept healthy and safe outdoors – for example, including ensuring that they use sun cream and hats in hot weather and wear appropriate outdoor clothing in wet and/or cold weather.
In the natural area there are raised vegetable beds, fruit trees, willow hides, log seating and a base camp, compost bins, a wormery, bird feeders, plus bug, hedgehog and nest boxes.
We have also developed a new outdoor mud kitchen – this is proving to be very popular with our children. All our children can help to plant seeds, water and harvest our fruit and vegetables. They also get the opportunity to help our cook to prepare and taste the harvest!
Our children can also safely learn to play using our natural resources – for example:
- balancing on logs
- making dens
- walking on stepping stones
- climbing trees.
Our sensory garden is a quiet, secluded area enclosed on three sides by high walls. It has been designed and created to be accessible for all children – providing stimulation for their senses, heightening awareness of the environment and promoting positive learning experiences.
A range of scented and textured plants (and planters), chime bars, shaded seating and a seated arbour provides an ideal area for children to have stories, participate in art and craft activities, have quiet times and play games.