A Typical Day

The first thing to say is that every day REALLY is different at our Pre-School! With such a large site to explore and so by taking into account the children’s ideas no two sessions are ever the same!

A day may go a little like this …

8am – 9.30am

Children in early care will say Good Morning to the farm animals, read and play games in the Stable Classroom with Laura and Charlotte

9.30am

Everyone will muster at the Parents Gate, we will take register and ensure everyone is dressed appropriately. We will have a look at the weather, ask the children what they are hoping to do in the day and make a plan.

The walk up to the site gives lots of opportunities to see changes in the environment, we pass cows, horses, goats, sheep, alpacas and pigs – all known to the children by name. There are old oaks to gaze up into, rabbit holes, tunnels in the long grass made by foxes and birds singing over head to discuss, natural treasures to collect. The are always multiple different routes with 2 playgrounds on the way!

Once at site we will talk the through our expectations, remind them about looking after their needs and each other. We might tell them a project that ourselves as adults are interested in achieving that day.

Children are let loose in forest! There can be around 16 children aged 2.5-6 in any one session, we work on a ratio of around 1:4 so there will often be 4 or 5 adults in the forest at once which means children are well-supervised and always have someone to help with a project or help them to access the resources which they may need to realise a dream!

There will be digging, mud kitchen cookery, building with planks, cable drums, crates and bricks, there will be swinging, climbing and role play of 100 different kinds, there may be experimenting with water and pipes, the fairies may have been and left a treasure, we may need to plant new seeds, they will be painting, making nature crowns, we may need to repair the tree house and so we will fetch the tools and the tape measures. Charlotte will make the snacks and gradually children will think their tummies need something!

Snack at basecamp gives us another chance to check in with what the children are wanting to achieve, to encourage and praise them in their efforts. It also gives us a chance to sing and tell stories. We never insist children join us at these times, no one has to sit still if they are too busy with a learning project but we find that they often want to join the community and many linger for another story and another.

The play will continue, the adults may make suggestions for children who can’t quite seem to find their groove, we will take photographs of the children at work in order to send to parents and gradually the consensus will be for a spot of lunch. We will choose a picnic spot carefully either to find shelter or to catch some precious sun, we like to sit in different places around the site as often as possible because when you spend a prolonged time there you will notice more about a place (and if you have sandwiches more birds will come!)

After lunch, children will be offered a walk across the meadow, into the badger woods or through the maze, some may want to continue with their learning in the forest some may wish to rest in a hammock or in the yurt – there are always enough adults to facilitate their choices. We may find insects, animals tracks, owl pellets or a new flower. We may roll down hills, run races or give piggy backs, we may all lie down and watch the sky.

The afternoon often ends with a campfire – marshmallows, baked bananas, fruit crumble, toffee apples, more stories, more singing and more celebration of a day well spent. The children are praised for their conduct towards each other, for their perseverance and their ingenuity.

3.30pm

We walk back down to the parents waiting at the farm happy and muddy and looking forward to tomorrow.

3.30pm – 5pm

Children in late care will enjoy soft play or the giant sand pit with Lara and Amy, they may take a walk to the lake to spot the heron or see if the donkeys are in a good mood.

5pm

Everyone goes home ready for their tea, a bath and a good nights sleep!

What’s A Typical Rainy Day

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes” – while this may be true of a good puddle walk and we are very pleased with our Spotty Otter kits there comes a time when even we will decide the British weather has got the better of us!

We are extremely lucky at Park Hall that our Plan B is actually very exciting! Whether the farm is open to the public or closed our Pre-School children always have access to many of the indoor play options offered down on the farm – role play areas, soft play, bouncy castles, sand pits and slides. View more here.

We also have our own dedicated classroom stocked with games, puzzles, building toys, books galore and art materials as you would find in traditional nursery. We love that we can vary the children’s experience of Pre-School so much with different experiences and resources come rain, shine, snow or when the winds blow!!

On a rainy day we tend to keep children dry in a morning and then get them dressed for the elements and let them experience the puddles and mud in the afternoon. The only weather which prevents us from visiting the forest is high winds, time to get the kites and streamers out and play in the meadows!

Always a New Adventure!

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