Ian Waller enjoys a guided tour of the The Garden at Kingswood School in Bath, a new bespoke nursery and reception facility, ahead of its official opening later this week
There’s a lot to be impressed with when visiting The Garden at Kingswood, an integral part of the new multi-million pound development at this leading Bath-based independent school. Everywhere the children, aged from just nine months, have space, light and a variety of environments to explore and enjoy, from outdoor play spaces to well-equipped learning areas and yes, a slide in every room!
The Garden was opened to its first intake of children in September of this year, although the official Grand Opening is set to take place later this week. Throughout this very modern facility, the children are encouraged to enjoy the freeflow environment that allows them to make the most of the gorgeous outdoor spaces as well as the generously sized indoor classrooms.
As Head of the Garden, Anna Ballanger, was keen to point out, The Garden is designed to feel like a home from home, although designed very much from a child’s perspective, with low windows to allow the outside to come in, and those tiny chairs that suit children so well but somehow make us grown ups appear off balance and over-sized!
Anna added that each day sees the children enjoying as much time as possible outside, with a variety of play areas, including a peace garden and secret garden, all available to suit the children’s needs. In fact, the garden is even welcomed inside with wonderful natural patterns on the walls and play areas, and even stars on the ceiling of the sleep room for the youngest children.
While the emphasis for the children at The Garden is very much on learning through play, there is an educational element for much of what they enjoy, with the children from two years old and upwards wearing a school uniform as an outward sign of their new educational journey. And there really is plenty of fun available, with secret areas to explore, interactive toys to enjoy and yes, those many slides to, well, slide down…
And for the parents who want to enjoy watching their child’s enjoyment, there’s even an app available to keep them up to date with photos and reports.
Anna stresses the importance she places on getting to know the children and their families even before they take up their place at The Garden, with her enjoying home visits, including playing with the children and understanding their needs them as individuals.
Alongside their own facilities, where suitable the children at The Garden take part in the activities with the rest of the school, including events such as a recent Harvest Festival and Remembrance Days. What’s more, teachers from the main schools regularly come over to The Garden to lead activities including music, PE, swimming, gardening and cooking.
The Garden is available to its families for 45 weeks of the year, with an option of a further five where requested.
If you would like to take a closer look, The Garden is holding an open day on 14 January, with places available to book on the school’s website.
For more details, visit www.kingswood.bath.sch.uk