We love the outdoors at Kids adVentures and are so happy to see children playing in the fresh air again now we have reopened following the easing of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here Rachel Doyle, one of our fantastic Nursery Managers, talks to us about why early-years settings should take this negative situation and turn it into an opportunity to make outdoor learning an integral part of nursery.
“The situation that everyone has been going through due to coronavirus is just dreadful and we understand that it is a difficult decision to send your children back to nursery.
“Which is why we want all educational settings to embrace outdoor learning. Each of our nursery settings has a forest school leader, and at our Prestwich site, 80% of our education is done outside whatever the weather, which is why we opened that site first. We followed with our Salford setting – which also has large chunks of the day outside, and we are assessing how this works until we re-open our Radcliffe site.
“Outdoor play has a number of fantastic benefits including building confidence and team working skills. We are committed to every child having access to lots of outdoor education whether this is in the local park, at our Forest Schools or within our nursery gardens.
“We feel very privileged to have such great facilities with outdoor provisions – but it is possible whatever your nursery set up is like. The benefits are undeniable.
“It has been hard for parents, juggling home and work life, and inevitable children will have spent more time indoors in lockdown and in front of screens. We want to take the pressure off parents and help their youngster reembrace the outdoors and interact with others outside of the home, so it does not have a lasting impact on children’s health and wellbeing.
“This week it’s been fantastic seeing the children’s joy and excitement when they see their friends again. One little girl did a little dance when she first saw her favourite member of staff again. Coming back into nursery has had a really positive impact on the children.
“We have been keeping a close eye on what other countries, like Denmark have been doing, who reopened nurseries last month, and have followed their idea of “protective bubbles” rather than strict social distancing.
“We are taking the guidance from Government very seriously and then adapting it to how we can best put it into practice in each of our settings.
“The health, wellbeing and safety of all the children and their families is of course paramount to us. But expecting children not to come into close contact is unrealistic in our nursery setting. It is a massive learning curve and we will be testing and adapting as we go.
“By using protective bubbles with small groups of children and being able to be outside could prove invaluable in the fight against coronavirus. We would love to see more nursery settings embracing the outdoors, and we could really help with that as a Forest School training provider. It is the future of learning”
Kids adVentures now has places available for new families to start in its settings, to find out more and the special measure that have been put in place to ensure the wellbeing of children at the nursery go to www.kidsadventures.co.uk
We are delighted to announce that our Prestwich Forest School has been rated “OUTSTANDING in ALL areas” by OFSTED.
Two OFSTED inspectors spent a full day at forest school on 5th November shadowing the activities of our pre-schoolers, here’s some highlights from their report.
“Highly qualified and experienced staff are extremely skilful in providing high-quality learning experiences.”
“Children demonstrate a thirst for learning. For example, children use a saw to cut branches, which they make into wooden blocks for the construction area. Children transfer these skills as they construct weaving frames.”
“Healthy lifestyles are embedded in the curriculum. Staff offer children a rich set of experiences. For example, children make dens and use real wood working tools, demonstrating high levels of skill and concentration.”
“Children are extremely happy and settled in the forest school. Every aspect of the day is a learning opportunity.”
“The environment provides a wealth of learning opportunities. For example, children paint using natural resources and problem solve how they can unblock a sink in the mud kitchen.”
“Children understand the safety rules of the ‘campfire’ and show immense care as they tend to the nursery chickens.”
Using our Imaginations
“Children have vivid imaginations. They designate roles within their play and name different areas in the environment such as ‘dragon mountain’ and ‘witches cottage’.”
“Staff place children’s well-being at the centre of their practice. As a result, children form positive relationships with others. Children are independent and confident and their behaviour is exemplary.”
“Care practices are first class which significantly impact on children’s confidence and self-motivation. Staff encourage children to attempt things by themselves which promotes resilience.”
“They (the children) show a great fascination for exploration and investigation and are extremely confident communicators.”
Health and Wellbeing
“Children plant, grow and eat their own vegetables. They explore the effect of exercise on the body. They discuss changes they observe as their heart rate quickens and their breath becomes visible in the cold air.”
“Parents are extremely complimentary about the service provided. They state, ‘children gain experience of the real world and gain skills they can take through life’ and ‘wow, staff are amazing!’”
Speaking about the achievement, Nursery Manager, Rachel Doyle said, “The team has worked really hard over the last few years to develop a unique pre-school outdoor learning experience, it is fantastic to have this recognised by OFSTED. We incorporate all aspects of normal nursery learning utilising nature and outdoors giving every child an early years experience that fosters team work and confidence. We really believe that this is a fantastic way to learn and we want to share this with as many children as possible.”
The Kids adVentures Prestwich Forest School is a full time pre-school which operates as an extension to our Prestwich Nursery. The children start at the Prestwich nursery from aged 0 upwards and progress over to the forest school site full time when they reach pre-school age.
Book before end of July 2019 and get 10% off your first month of childcare and pay no deposit. Places must start
during 2019 to be eligible.
This is available across all of our nurseries in Prestwich, Radcliffe and Salford until 31st July 2019.
We have a limited amount of spaces available to join our outdoor ethos nurseries.
As a social enterprise, not for profit nursery we realise that the first month of nursery can be expensive. So we have removed deposits and kept our prices as low as possible to ensure we make our nursery education as accessible as possible.
All of our nurseries have a Forest School element to them. Our Prestwich nursery has a dedicated full time forest school which our pre-schoolers attend all day everyday. At our Salford and Radcliffe nurseries our pre-school children go out on forest school trips at least once a week.
To find out more email email@example.com
Working in the outdoors daily and doing something you love. Having the freedom to set up your own forest school with an ethos created by you. Ability to work with all different ages, running sessions around outdoor activities that interest you.
To achieve a nationally recognised qualification that is part of a national framework.
To inspire and empower youngsters through learning in the outdoors.
How soon can I start leading my own sessions?
You can start running your own forest school sessions after you have completed your first 7 days of theory and practical training. You can continue to run these sessions for the full 12 months until you have qualified. You must qualify within the initial 12 months in order to keep running your sessions.
Do I need to have a group that I can work with in to complete the practical sessions and qualify?
You will need to lead a minimum of 6 of your own sessions in order to qualify. However we will be able to provide you with groups to work with if this is required.
How long does it take to qualify?
Qualification takes between 9 and 12 months depending on how quickly you complete your portfolio.
Are there any entry requirements?
Yes, you will need to have a Level 2 qualification in Education or Woodland Management.
How does the trainer assess the learner?
We use a variety of different assessment methods to check that the assessment criteria is being met and give plenty of feedback along the way to help you keep on track.
Practical skills such as fire, tool and rope work will be assessed during our practical training days.
Trainees will be assessed in a variety of ways giving the flexibility to tailor the assessment around methods that the learner is most comfortable with. Types of assessment methods include:
Scenario based assessment
Your portfolio can consist of oral, digital or written evidence (or a mixture of these).
What is the time commitment?
In addition to the theory and practical days you will need to complete around 120 hours of independent study time during the 12 months in order to complete your 6 sessions and portfolio.
What support is available?
We provide a variety of support during and beyond your training. Garry is a very approachable tutor who takes time to ensure each learner has a good understanding.
In addition to the 7 days of theory and practical learning at the centre we will also provide a number of additional non-compulsory learning days which learners can use as and when needed.
Garry will also provide lots of 121 support particularly around running your own sessions.
Face to face, telephone and email support will be available throughout your learning period.
Who is the trainer?
Garry Roberts is our Forest School Trainer. He is an ex high school teacher, forest school practitioner and outdoor enthusiast. In between running forest school training Garry delivers forest school sessions to different groups locally in Salford and Greater Manchester from pre-school sessions through to sessions for Over 50’s and sessions for people with mental health problems.
Where is the training held?
Our Centre is just outside of Manchester City Centre. We are only 10 minutes drive away from Manchester’s Central Railway Stations.
We have a fully enclosed centre with full facilities with an adjoining woodland that we can walk straight out into. Training is therefore conducted both within our enclosed site and out in the woodland.
The address for our Centre is – Garden Needs, 1 Radford Street, Salford M7 4NT
How much does the course cost?
The total cost for the 12 month course is £800. We offer a number of flexible payment places where you can pay in 4 installments of £200 across the 12 month training period.
At Kids adVentures our pre-schoolers are constantly learning through play. We are outside every day and incorporate nature as much as possible. Our Salford Nursery Manager, Robert, is a trained Forest School Leader and is passionate about giving the children outdoor learning opportunities.
Pre-school is an important age where children get ready for going to primary school. We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage throughout the nursery but this becomes even more important as the children get older.
We use child centred approaches, as we are a small nursery we are able to utilise the children’s individual interests to help them learn in a way which is enjoyable and at a pace that is right for them.
The different areas of education that we cover are:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Communication and Language
Understanding the World
Expressive Art and Design
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
This covers a broad range of topics including using roleplay and flash cards to learn about daily routines, understanding different emotions using masks and mood boards, using games to find out how children can help at home, learning ways to help each other, learning about the difference between right and wrong.
We utilise music and movement and have a dedicated Move and Groove session each week. We also do tasks around learning about balance such as stepping stones and around building our own structures. We are outside daily in our large garden and also learn about being healthy, trying healthy foods and tastes through things like making fruit skewers and smoothies.
Communication and Language
This covers everything from A-Z to storytime, starting to read independently and learning rhymes. Here we use our imagination creating our own stories and sometimes utilise resources from outside to start this process.
We go out for walks around our local community and are constantly identifying objects and their associated first letter. Phonics are used and we also do mark making where the children learn to write the different letters.
We are constantly counting objects – “how many butterflies can you see?”. We also create natural size charts, collecting leaves and putting them in order of size. We paint and count pebbles and we count how many class mates we have.
Understanding the World
We help our pre-schoolers to make sense of the world around them by visiting the post office or going to our local shop. We also use roleplay where we might pretend to be a baker or to work in a hospital. We learn about days and months and we utilise our garden to grow seeds and learn where vegetables come from.
Expressive Art and Design
This is about giving the children the confidence to express themselves. We do lots of fun activities from making our own hats through to clay modelling, painting and mask making. We also utilise instruments to make music and use our imaginations to tell each other stories.
We are a small and friendly nursery offering a home from home nursery feel. We enjoy supporting the children through their fun learning experience, as we get to know each personality we are able to tailor the learning around them.
During the last year before primary school we also start to learn about school to make the transition natural and exciting. We meet our local primary school teachers, find out about the primary school day, try on school uniforms and learn about our different journeys to school.
Pre-school is an important time in a child’s life, it’s a magical period of learning and discovery. We enjoy helping the children to develop and while we are sad to see them leave for primary school we are proud to have helped get them ready for the next step in their educational journey.
We hold Young and Old sessions at our nursery in Salford every 2 weeks. Here our pre-school children and residents from local care homes come together to take part in an activity together.
The kinds of activities that we do are crafts, singing, afternoon tea, dancing, games, chair exercise and more.
Both age groups get a great deal out of the session and come away laughing and smiling.
We have been running intergenerational sessions at Kids adVentures for 2 years now, it’s something that we think is really important.
Simone Sharrock, Activities Coordinator at The Angel Centre says, “We hold a variety of different activities for the older generation at The Angel Centre but this is by far the one that gets the biggest reaction. The older people all take part and become really animated, even those that rarely show a reaction end up involved and happy.
Robert Hughes, Manager at Kids adVentures Salford says, “The children look forward to the sessions with the older people. They learn age isn’t a barrier, they gain respect for the older generation and really enjoy singing with them and hearing their stories. The children really look forward to seeing their older friends”
Kids adVentures and The Angel Centre are both part of health and wellbeing organisation Social adVentures. The social enterprise organisation is constantly looking for ways to innovate to help people of all ages live healthier and happier lives.
In the nurseries they provide a variety of free services including weekly Move and Groove sessions, swimming and lots of outdoor play. Kids adVentures also runs two Forest Schools where pre-school children learn outdoors full time.
If you are a Salford care home that would like to take part in our intergenerational sessions give us a call on Tel: 0161 212 4980 and speak to Simone.
If you are a parent who would like to come and have a look at our Salford nursery call Rob on Tel: 0161 212 4965