Here at Merry-Go-Round Pre-school we have a very strong belief in the importance of outside play for children.
The pre-school has a fantastic garden which has been carefully designed to offer different challenges to our children. It includes a substantial outside canopy area, a mud kitchen, a summer house, vegetable plot and a small wood that are all used whatever the weather.
We are also grateful to The Naturesave Trust (www.naturesave.co.uk/the-naturesave-trust/) who specialise in funding environmental, conservation and community renewable energy projects throughout the UK. The Naturesave Trust provided funding for our new pond area.
We also run a forest schools programme which we use to boost the personal, social and emotional development of children who are about to go to school. Forest school involves being outside in the woods exploring, playing and learning through seized opportunities and experiences. These experiences gradually challenge the child, building on his/her abilities and knowledge, opening new doors to the world outside, releasing creativity, curiosity and awareness of others. This helps children to become more confident, balanced individuals who are motivated by the joy of learning and discovery.Children are welcome to join Forest School as soon as they can manage tramping across rough ground whilst they are wearing full waterproofs.
We are lucky enough to have access to a local site nearby to use for our Forest School session. This means that the children gain the experience of an exciting outdoor environment, and allows us to run a separate session for the youngest children back at the setting.
If your child is new to Forest School, here’s a few pointers to help you and them get the most out of it:
- Transporting children to the site we use (which is currently in Beeson) is, at times, challenging for us, and we are hopeful that the majority of children will be brought directly to the site for 9.30am on Tuesday mornings. Our lead practitioner for these sessions always arrives on site early and will be there to meet you and answer any queries you have.
- If it is is not practical for you to bring your child to Beeson, please make a prior arrangement with the MGR team to have you child transported in one of our staff’s vehicles (checks are completed and insurances are in place to ensure your child is safe). Once you have made an arrangement with us, we need your child to be dropped off with our staff, outside Stokenham school gates, by 9.10am at the latest, and ideally earlier. A minimum of 2 staff will be waiting to take children who have a prior arrangement to be transported in place, and it may be a good idea to make sure you have met with the current team prior to drop off so that you feel confident in doing so. They aim to leave by 9.15am.
- Please ensure your child has warm waterproof clothing, including waterproof trousers, wellies, hats and gloves for the session. During the colder months thermals are advised, and in summer months, thin long sleeved layers and an application of insect repellent is advised, along with a sun hat and cream. We find that children with cold extremities do not get the most out of the session! Providing us with a change of clothes is also advisable.
- Give your child a good breakfast, as we are not able to provide as substantial a mid-morning snack as we would when we are back in our building.
- Forest School sessions are different to other kinds of early years provision, and your child may well come home a little muddy. This is usually a sign they have had great fun! If you wish to attend a session with your child, or become a regular volunteer, you are very welcome to give it a try – talk to the team to arrange in the first instance.
Merry Go Round is very proud of its Forest School provision, and we hope you and your child will be able to benefit from the genuine and unique play and learning opportunities that arise from spending time outside with skilled practitioners.