A brief introduction
Our preschool is term time only and our school day starts at 9.00 and finishes at 15.30 (wrap around childcare is available on request). Though children will be dropped off at and collected from our indoor setting (East Winds), children will spend around 90% of their day in one of four fantastic outdoor spaces: East Winds Activity Centre, Nightingale Valley Woods, St Anne's Woods or our newly acquired allotment.
We offer a varied timetable which includes seasonal cooking sessions, forest school, allotment visits, local trips and adult led workshops. Most importantly, wherever we are, the children will have the freedom to walk, run, sing, climb, eat, read, splash, dig, swing, jump, write, think and play their way through the day as we offer lots of opportunities for nature-based play. We also have a weekly stay and play Forest School session.
What makes Out There preschool so special?
We are born out of a passion for outdoor learning. As early years educators, primary school teachers, Forest School leaders and play workers, we have witnessed first-hand the benefits of children spending an increased amount of time outdoors in their natural environment; improved physical development, increased motivation and self esteem, a greater awareness of the natural world and our place within in.
We want to take the very best bits of all of our educating experiences and weave them in to something that is unique and special.
We want to strip back children’s preschool play experiences, and move away from plastic toys, a kitchen or shop role play area and a designer outdoor space in order to see what children’s imaginations are capable of. Giant logs become rocket ships or sailing boats, sticks become wishing wands, rope becomes a giant beanstalk.
We believe all children have the right to an outstanding, equal education. We are inclusive and want to ensure every child can access our provision and learning outdoors.
Early Years Foundation Stage / Development and Learning
As experienced practitioners, we are really excited about planning for your child’s learning and development and think very carefully about delivering the early years curriculum in an outdoor setting. Each term we have a theme and around two core children’s books to spark excitement and interest. Our curriculum, planning and resources are very child led, as we follow each child on their individual learning journey.
We plan and assess for the 7 areas of learning and development, as set out in Development Matters in the EYFS.
Communication and Language
Emmotional and Social Wellbing
Literacy - reading and writing
Expressive Art and Design
Understanding the World
Our holistic approach means that these 7 areas of learning are embedded in to our daily structure and routine, our indoor and outdoor environments, our carefully chosen resources, the adult guided activities and the child initiated play.
A 'typical' DAY AT OUT THERE PRESCHOOL
You might say there is no such thing as a typical day, as every day is unique and special. However, we do have certain routines and structure that will really benefit your child and prepare them for what comes after preschool.
The majority of children and parents arrive between 8.50 and 9.10. On arrival, children get stuck in to playing as we wait for everyone to arrive. Children have access to variety of resources; sensory play, small world, mark making, arts and craft, loose parts, role play etc. Children are encouraged to help prepare the morning snack. When everyone has arrived, we start our day with circle time to welcome everyone, share news, sing a song or read a story.
We then get ready to go out side. The walk to and from the site is all part of the fun. Children will spend their day at up to two different sites. For example, the allotment and the forest school site in the woods.
Morning and Afternoon Sessions are spent engaged in meaningful and practical play and learning, whether that's digging a pond on the allotment, cutting up and grating vegetables or helping to build a fire. We encourage children to independently select resources and tools, whether that's on the allotment, at the scout hut or in the woods. At lunchtime, children enjoy a packed lunch (provided by you) around the fire circle and reflect on their morning experiences.
We finish our day off with some quite time back at the scout hut, where children can relax and unwind with stories, music, yoga and mindfulness.
OUR EDUCATIONAL ETHOS
We know how many parents recognise the value that alternative approaches to learning can bring, as do we. Our preschool applies Forest School principals and practices, as well as Reggio, Rudolf Steiner and Maria Montessori approaches to learning and development. You can find out more about our vision and ethos here.
The philosophy of Forest Schools is to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through positive outdoor experiences. Forest School activities offer children the opportunity to learn about the natural environment, how to handle risks and most importantly to use their own initiative to solve problems and work with others.
The future development of each individual child depends on health-giving experiences in the first seven years of life. An atmosphere of loving warmth and guidance that promotes joy, wonder, and reverence supports such healthy development. The most essential aspect is the inner attitude of the educator, who provides the example for the child to imitate. Therefore Waldorf educators must engage in an ongoing process of research and self-education including anthroposophical study, meditative practice, artistic and practical activity.
Dr. Montessori saw that children learn best by ‘doing’ and that happy, self-motivated learners form positive images of themselves as confident, successful people. The Montessori approach is holistic and aims to develop the whole child. Fundamental to the approach is the belief that a child's early years from birth to six are the period when they have the greatest capacity to learn.
our DIFFERENT OUTDOOR SITES
East Winds Activity Centre
East Winds on St Anne's Terrace is our base camp. It's where we intend to play if the British weather forbids us to go out (e.g. if it's very wet or very windy or just too cold). Here, there is a kitchen and toilets and an indoor hall, as well as a fantastic outdoor space with fire circle and mud kitchen. It's a hidden gem of a place and we love it.
Nightingale Valley Woods (NWV)
East Winds activity centre is at the entrance to Nightingale Valley Woods. A path leads from here in to the woods, walking alongside Brislington Brook. The walk to the Forest school site takes approximately 15 minutes. The site is in a natural clearing, with a fire circle and plenty of space to play.
St Anne's Woods
St Anne's Woods can be accessed by heading up the lane on to Newbridge road. The entrance to the woods are about a 10 minute walk, crossing over the railway bridge towards St Anne's Park. St Anne's woods offer a great alternative to NVW and using both of these sites will ensure we don't over use one particular site.
Woodcroft Road Allotments
Our allotment plot is just behind the Nightingale Valley Woods. It is huge and has so much potential. We plan to build a pond and have even discussed the possibility of getting some chickens.
The slideshow below shows you some photos the amazing green spaces that we have access to.