Neston Farm Children’s Nursery is supplying forest school lessons to children who attend Bath-based nurseries across its group. This sees children from Midford Road Nursery and Oldfield Road Nursery visiting the organic farm location just outside of Melksham for a day each week to explore, create and grow in the vast outdoors.
“We have three pigs which the children feed, play with and brush daily,” explained Amy Parfitt, Nursery Directory. “We collect eggs from our quails, ducks and chickens which we all think is egg-cellent! Our children often eat and sleep outdoors, and watch the natural world in all its glory.
“On our farm we also have an organic allotment, where we have just pulled a whole basket of radishes we grew from seed! We are gathering bunches of wildflowers from our meadows to decorate our dining tables and can’t wait to harvest the other fruits of our labour in the summer months.
“As a child-lead and child-centred preschool, we will aim to focus on engaging the children’s senses, encouraging social interactions and allowing the children to explore their own limitations and take their own risks. This will especially enable the development of ‘Personal, Social and Emotional Development’ aspects of the EYFS framework and also ‘Physical’ and ‘Communication and language too’.”
“We provide opportunities for the children to choose the kind of session they engage with and shape their own experiences while in the woods. There is opportunity for them to be loud or quiet, fast or slow, solitary or collaborative, practical or creative and messy or clean. Within reason, the choice will always be theirs and we will do our best as practitioners to always provide these opportunities and encourage their own choices.
“In a society that is losing touch with the natural world, our forests, fields and plant life are vital not only for the stability of our eco-systems but as one of our few remaining connections to nature. It is therefore imperative that our younger generations are discovering and protecting these connections in years to come. It is no secret that our planet and, more poignantly, our wildlife is under great threat in recent years. Therefore, it is the ideas and the actions of our youth that will carve the way for change in the future. I believe that giving children an interest in plants and wildlife at a young age instils respect, love and an understanding of our natural world at a time when it can take root and they might hold onto this fascination.”