There are three distinct nest spaces in our nursery building: the Studio, the Piazza and the Cafe. Each is unique, holding beauty, possibility, and delight, both indoors and outdoors. Each presents interesting objects and activities inviting closer observation, deeper thinking and research. The spaces remain connected. We are a whole nursery, a family. The possibilities within and the connections between the nests complement each other, supporting the children’s dynamic learning and ideas. For example, thoughts and designs that germinated in one nest space are offered other rich potentials for exploration in another nest space.
The depth of learning and the connections that are nurtured in each space are in relationship with each other. The learning in one space can support the learning in another space. There are times when we come together in larger groups; to sing, to share, to celebrate but our nest spaces offer the children, families and staff a daily base, a home in which learning is endlessly possible and exciting. Throughout the year, your child will experience one term in each space. The children get to know each space so well, becoming experts in their unique characters.
Here are some thoughts that the children have about the spaces.
“This place gives us a hug.” (Edith)
“This is our nursery home. We are together with our friend family.” (Zosia)
“We can do all the thinking of ideas and all the playing with our friends in our nursery.” (Astrid)
“We look after all the creatures in our nursery, and they look after us all and all the plants in the world.” (Oliver)
“I love our nursery place.” (Albie)
Our wellbeing café offers children the opportunity to be involved in the preparation and eating of healthy food. Recently we have made houmous, healthy smoothies, vegetable wraps, and roasted squash as well as learning how to use a variety of tools and techniques. Throughout the year we use the Café space to introduce food from other cultures and celebrate festivals and special events.
The Studio is flooded with natural light. Shadows often dance around this space. It provides a beautiful area for research with many creative languages. With the window shutters down, a contrasting vista can be created, perfect for larger scale shadow work. The projector and large screen offer a change to extend familiar stories or to communicate innovative ideas and theories. There are cosy corners as well as open space. Outside, paths intertwine and connect through the jungle of trees, grasses and plants. The children can explore tunnels, bridges and secret pathways. There is even a boat! So many games and imaginative scenes are created by the children in this forested terrain.
The piazza is a community space where the whole school can come together to tell stories, sing, dance and celebrate. It is also used for large scale construction such as building blocks to create Rapunzel’s tower or junk modelling an ice castle! The space changes and adapts to children’s interests and needs and once a week we all join together for singing.
The Lab is also housed in this space, presenting a beautiful and carefully curated designated place to work with Montessori maths resources and practical life activities. Children learn through sensorial experiences and begin to make sense of their culture as they develop skills through everyday practical tasks. The practical life activities are presented on individual trays allowing the children to make independent choices. The trays offer various real-life items allowing the children to develop their fine motor skills through using tools which can be found in the home. Children are naturally interested in real everyday objects. Using the Montessori maths materials children begin to follow concrete concepts which lead onto the abstract. The resources are ‘self-correcting’ enabling the children to use the materials independently therefore giving them a real sense of achievement.
We have two large sandpits, one of which is covered and provides an interesting variety of resources such as small world play, containers for exploring capacity (or cooking sand pies!) and tubes for investigating gravity. The other sandpit is outdoors and is known as the ‘Beach Sand’. It is often home to our family of dinosaurs and provides a good place for storytelling and role play. On the playground children explore scientific concepts by using pipes, ramps and cars and also build large scale constructions as well as developing their movement skills.
Here, the children learn about the ecology of plants and wildlife. They often help to harvest produce from the garden and bring it into the cafe to share with the school community. Any peelings then go straight into our hot compost bin and back on the garden! We also have a wildlife area, bug hotel and willow shelter which can be used as a space for story telling or quiet reflection.
The jungle is a bamboo forest where children can explore tunnels, bridges, secret pathways and find the giant’s chair. There is even a boat which can be used for adventures on the high seas or when a quick getaway is needed! It is a great place for being with friends and celebrating friendships.