For a kindergarten based in an urban environment like Hove, our woodland garden is a rare thing indeed. It’s a sanctuary of inspiration, imagination and wellbeing, well-stocked with wildlife-attracting native plants and trees.
Within it, your child will be able to explore more about their local environment, learning about how plant and animal life interact with each other and the seasons, and developing their understanding of their own place in the world.
We celebrate all life in our garden, and our nature calendar encourages the children to focus on particular plants or creatures throughout the year (hedgehogs, for example, or bees), and they learn about the importance of each individual species and their own role in protecting them and their natural environments.
As it’s our own, private space, it offers a safe place for the children to play, hide, and use their imaginations. Navigating the different terrains and levels within the garden will help your child to develop their own body confidence and motor skills.
The garden is enhanced by our outdoor classroom, an area which means the children really can be outdoors in (nearly) all weathers. Age-appropriate activities, stories and games will help them to build their confidence and learn through play, all in their family group.
They children don’t just learn through play here, though. The woodland garden is full of real jobs to do, which helps them to learn how to take responsibility and about their place in how the life-cycle of a natural space works.
They have a wormery, double composter and leaf mulcher for creating nutrient-rich soil, which they then use on our allotment to grow their food. Trees rich in berries and seeds feed and shelter the birds, as do the many bird houses that surround the woodland.
The walls are lined with chestnut poles and wooden logs for insects to nest in, giving the children the chance to observe and learn from them. There are rain collectors, a weather vane, temperature gauges, hedgehog houses and more nestled throughout the garden to excite and interest the children and help them learn about the world around them.
In a world of where phone and computer screens dominate our lives, and many of us grow up in houses or flats with little or no outside space, this natural sanctuary is central to developing the children’s connection with the natural world.