When children feel safe and cared about, they blossom. Without these feelings, most “teaching” and
experiences have far less beneficial effect for the children – the same applies generally to adults too!
The most important relationship in a child's life is the one with their parents. Many of the most important parts of the child's development come directly from simply spending time with their parents. As babies develop into toddlers, there are also increasing benefits from spending time in other social situations and with small groups of children. Learning to interact with our community and the many different types of people we all come across is the basis for being prepared for life, in school and everything that comes after that. We hope to work to provide a partnership with the children's parents to give children the best possible start in life.
Firstly and most importantly we provide a safe place where the children feel loved and cared for. Above all the other many things one can do for a child, this is the most important in enabling them to become confident and feel safe to explore and learn.
One of the main benefits of looking after a group of children is being able to make a lot of mess, either inside or outside,
and the benefit for parents is that these messy activities such as painting, cornflour play, gluey activities, mud kitchens and water trays don’t need to be done at home! Painting outside is so much simpler – the children have been known to paint the terrace, the trees, the outside structures, anything they feel moved to decorate. If there’s no paint around they will use the mud, learning by experiment that adding water makes it even easier to spread about. There are the traditional games and toys that one associates with young children and their learning also accessible to the children as well as the many substitutes that can be found in the garden and forest.
Children need to spend time with other children and adults to help them on their journey to become a social being. There are important skills to be learnt such as communicating, playing, even negotiating for toys!
Meal times are an important part of our day, both indoors and in the Forest. The children sit up at the table together, waiting for each other, learning to pass plates and fill drinks for each other as well as trying lots of different types of foods. Enjoyment of their food is enhanced when we are able to go and pick what they have helped to grow in our veggie patch. By help, we sometimes just means throwing some of the soil around, but it may well grow into a real interest in growing things later.
Whilst we are looking after children, parents can take a small breather from the exhausting job of being a parent. We see looking after the children as a partnership, never taking the place of a parent, but hopefully sharing a bit of the load.
Taking the Strain
We have stacks of resources for children, heaps of books, toys, activities – on top of the whole wide outside.