We launched our first Kids adVentures Forest School in February 2017. At the time we were increasingly looking to use the outdoors for education and were really starting to see the benefits of it.
We run a community garden called Garden Needs and decided to turn half of the site into a forest school centre.
When we first opened the site we planned for our Prestwich Nursery pre-school to visit the site a few days a week for sessions. However, these sessions were so popular we quickly turned the site into a full time pre-school provision.
This was no small task – we had portacabins on site with water and heating but we only had a composting toilet. To turn the site into a full time provision we had to get connected up to the water mains and build a toilet block. We also turned half of the large cabin into a classroom and added a separate entrance for the nursery.
We held an opening event on a cold drizzly day in February 2017 and were pleasantly surprised with the support we got – lots and lots of families came to visit! We had outdoor crafts, forest school games, chilli in mugs and luxury hot chocolate – it was a busy day for all!
Since then we have expanded to offer forest school holiday club and home education sessions.
Additionally, we have started running forest school sessions at our other nurseries where we utilise any park or green space that we can easily walk to.
We have employed our own forest school trainer and can now offer Level 3 Forest School Leader training to all staff free of charge.
In October 2019 we achieved an Ofsted Outstanding rating for our Prestwich Forest School Pre-school provision.
The benefits for children have been massive. Teachers report back that when our forest school children start school they are more ready for school having increased confidence and lateral thinking skills.
In the last 18 months we have also extended these services by providing free Woodland Wellbeing sessions for adults utilising our forest school knowledge. We have found this to have real mental health benefits both in reducing social isolation but also in using nature as a mindfulness tool.
The Kids adVentures and Social adVentures teams have been really busy during the coronavirus pandemic from delivering out of hours keyworker childcare to delivering food parcels and combatting social isolation.
The Kids adVentures parent company, Social adVentures, is a public health provider who usually operate around a programme of bringing people together to improve health and wellbeing. However, in 2020 we have had to do things a little differently.
During the national lockdown we provided keyworker childcare for frontline workers including extended hours and bank holidays. Our nursery teams were dedicated during this time to providing a safe and welcoming space for the children of keyworkers in a difficult time.
We also provided emergency food packages to vulnerable families in Bury and vulnerable individuals and families in Salford. We also provided extended support to our local school during the school holidays.
At our community hub in Salford, The Angel Centre, our team supported people through local telephone support services dealing with everything from loneliness to arranging medication deliveries.
At our community garden, Garden Needs, the kitchen was turned into a busy food hub cooking 600 hot meals a week to feed the front line NHS staff at A&E, Covid Triage Centres and at the testing Centres.
As national lockdown ended we have continued to support people. We have opened a food club and are delivering lots of online support and postal packs including Neighbourhood Boxes and Art packs to help tackle loneliness and isolation. Additionally, we are helping people back into work and training through a package of online 121 work coaching.
In our nurseries our teams have worked hard to provide an environment for the children which is safe and welcoming and we are extending the amount of outdoor education that we carry out.
To find out more about any of the services we provide email email@example.com.UK
We are delighted to introduce Becky Hunter who has joined the Salford Kids adVentures team as Nursery Manager.
Becky has over 20 years of childcare experience in both private nurseries and children’s centres. Becky joins us from the Bertram Nursery Group where she had responsibility for several of the Holyrood Nursery settings for many years.
Speaking about her new role Becky said, “I am excited about working with Kids adVentures and look forward to getting to know the Salford families and developing the nursery.”
Scott Darraugh, chief executive of Social adventures who run the Kids adventures Nursery group said, “Becky is an experienced professional who brings and wealth of expertise and enthusiasm to Salford, we are really looking forward to working together with Becky to grow the nursery and develop new opportunities.”