This is the third year running that Nature to Nurture has scooped this award. The judges were impressed by the way in which it has continued to expand its research, working in collaboration with Liverpool Hope University, to enhance children's free play in a natural environment.
With a fully immersive experience in nature all year round, its children routinely exceed the nationally recommended guidelines for physical activity per day, playing and developing vital life skills such as persistence, resilience, curiosity, creativity and resourcefulness in a loving, nurturing and language-rich woodland environment that enables their imagination and creativity to flourish.
The Nature to Nurture approach is made up of three elements that define the way in which staff work: the impact that the natural environment has on children's sensory foundational systems and how it can be used to support the development of children's motor and sensory integration skills; how using a mind-mindedness approach develops children's emotional literacy skills, empathy, compassion and prosocial behaviour; and how nature-based settings provide gender equality.
Staff have also investigated the ways that nature-based settings support children's physical and emotional needs. It is now seeking to trademark the ‘N2N Approach’ in the next year, and create a model that can be adopted within outdoor nurseries across the country.
Staff have already been invited to implement the approach within a pre-school in China, and there are plans to open further Nature to Nurture settings across Merseyside in the near future.
Despite losing their site, staff succeeded in sourcing not only one replacement but multiple new locations across Liverpool to enable them to continue their work. The whole team has shown a continuing determination to drive change forward within this relatively new field of education. The new main site is located within a Scout organisation and the nursery has helped to fund the redevelopment of a new Scout hut.
The nursery runs a variety of parent and family sessions on weekends, so families can meet each other and develop friendships. They hold picnics and birthday parties for children in the woods, and encourage parents to share their skills with each other to develop a real community within the nursery.
The setting also works very closely with speech and language and occupational therapists, and educational psychologists, to ensure the team around families is aligned to the child's needs at all times.
“Pushing boundaries and making a genuine contribution to new ways of thinking and working
HIGHLY COMMENDED Enya's Childcare, Peterborough
Enya's Childcare places emphasis on equipping children to be able to contribute effectively and positively to their community. Staff take children out on daily local walks with regular visits to the nearby care home and the abbey, local bus rides, storytime at the library, trips to the local fire station and shopping at the market.
Building meaningful relationships with the community and the people who live in the area has brought many opportunities for learning, sharing, acknowledging and celebrating differences.
In addition to venturing out, the nursery also regularly invites friends from the community to visit children in their play space. Graded Outstanding by Ofsted just two years after opening, the nursery has also been awarded the Green Flag Eco-Schools award.
Cullompton Pre School, Cullompton
Fit ‘N’ Fun Kids, Falmouth
Puddleduck Preschool, Windsor
Open to registered settings offering sessional care and education