Little Barn Owls nursery and Forest School in Southwater cares for children 3 months to 5 years old. We are a full time day nursery and forest school, which means all children over the age of 3 years take turns to be included in our forest school programme held every day at our own private 11 acre forest, 5 minutes drive away.
We are inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach, derived from Northern Italy and world renowned for its progressive philosophy for building an education system fit for children.
We are very keen on developing children’s enquiring minds through a holistic, hands on approach to education which helps children develop their thinking and express themselves creatively. We work with two professional artists in dedicated art studios called Ateliers, which have been built for children to develop their creative research projects alongside the artists and their peers. Often this work turns into projects spanning many weeks and months that has been shared and celebrated all over the world through our professional training school for those in Education who are keen to be inspired by our approach.
Your child will join Forest School sessions at least half the amount of days they attend nursery in a calendar year included in the fees over the age of 3 years. The other days they will enjoy the wonderful facilities that the nursery has to offer including a newly landscaped large garden, and an Atelier (creative studio with professional artist working with children) and newly renovated classrooms homed in our 2019 fully renovated barn nursery.
The nursery also looks out on a huge green playing field and children’s play area which we use for group games, picnics and events. Just down the road is also the Southwater Country Park for walks and more adventures.
We have a high ratio of staff to children across the nursery and take providing high quality care, teaching and learning very seriously. We have a dedicated Head of Family Support and a dedicated Head of Children’s and Adult’s Learning who work across both our nurseries. We are unique in employing two other permanent trainers who work tirelessly to ensure our staff deliver the best possible LBO ‘5 star’ service at all times. We invest heavily in professional development of our staff at all our nurseries because we know that they are the key to children thriving and providing a first class service to you.
WHAT IS THE REGGIO EMILIA APPROACH?
Click here to find out about our vision, ethos and educational approach.
WHAT HAPPENS AT FOREST SCHOOL?
The philosophy of our forest school is to develop confidence and curiosity within children in their early years through positive outdoor experiences. They focus on developing personal, social and emotional life skills through child-led, nature-based learning.
Typically, children on forest school build dens, climb trees, prepare, cook and eat their lunch around a campfire, role play in the woodland, carry out bug hunts, use rope swings and make up all sorts of wonderful imaginative games and activities. They also develop group interests and create theories about imaginative characters, such as their ‘dinosaur bird’ who lives in the forest or the ‘forest dwarves who live underground’. These ideas are encouraged and developed with the help of our expert team both in the forest and back at nursery and turn into long term research projects using many forms of expressive and creative mediums such as painting, drawing, sculpture, wire work, clay and many more…
Some of the benefits of Forest School:
- Children assess risks for themselves and learn to make safe choices.
- Challenging environments with opportunities to climb trees, balance on logs and build dens offer children the chance to engage in ‘healthy struggles’, where their bodies and brains develop resilience which is critical for all learning.
- The forest encourages group interests to develop which are continued back at nursery.
- It encourages children to be naturally curious about the world around them.
- Physical strength and stamina develop as muscle strength improves.
- Nature provides unlimited inspiration for children to wonder and marvel about the natural world, these often become studies of interest about wildlife, flora and fauna.
- Opportunities for early writing and mathematics are ample.
- Playing in the woods helps children develop a life-long appreciation of nature that we hope they carry throughout their childhood.
- Children who play outdoors regularly are far more likely to be fresh-air loving, active adults, research has proven this!
All other information about our nurseries ethos and routines can be found in the About Us section.