The philosophy which underpins our environment is led by a Nature pedagogy approach and is also inspired and influenced by ‘Reggio Emilia’ – paying thoughtful attention to creating an environment that enables children to develop relationships with the world around them, the land, themselves and each other. The principle of setting up environments as the ‘third teacher’ places value on aesthetics, organization, thoughtfulness, provocation, communication and interaction. The care and attention we pay to organising space both indoors and outdoors stimulates children’s imagination, creativity, exploration, discovery, engagement and sense of wonder.


The outdoor provision has been carefully designed to ensure we can facilitate development across all areas of learning outlined in the Early Years Foundation Stage statutory guidance. The indoors reflects the outdoors and provides a home from home base. Throughout the year, the provision evolves to respond to the change in seasons and to reflect the needs wants and interests of all children. Resources stimulate and challenge our youngest and oldest children. Accessible resources increase as children develop the independence and respect to make their own choices and decisions.

Materials and resources

Natural materials provide an infinite number of possibilities and convey a sense of calmness and tranquility for both children and adults. Natural materials are delightfully open-ended and can be used by the children in a myriad of ways. Careful choice and display of materials invite children to investigate, explore, discover experiment and encourage creative and imaginative play. These materials are aesthetically pleasing, sensory, open-ended, authentic (real rather than plastic, or a child’s version) natural, interesting and inviting. They have the potential to draw children in, make them want to stay a while, explore a little (or a lot), try new things, create and wonder. They also have the potential to enhance learning and discovery. They are selected to respond to children’s interests, stimulate thinking, revisit prior learning, support creativity, ignite curiosity, encourage exploration, empower, engage and test theories. Children are experts in seeing the potential in these objects.

Alongside these wonderful resources we ensure there are tools to support the development of early reading, writing and maths skills. For example, a variety of paper is readily available for children to ensure they can mark make, draw and paint whenever the interest or need arises. Mark making and writing tools are readily available in all areas of learning. Resources to support mathematical understanding are carefully placed in our provision to enable children to begin to explore concepts of time, shape and measure. For example, scales and measuring tools in the nature kitchen. We of course use the gifts of nature for incidental learning…there is nothing better than jumping in a puddle which of course provides opportunity to discuss capacity!

Seasonal provocations add a focus for discussion and exploration and space to allow children to move is carefully planned for. Attention is paid to how materials are displayed. Clear containers, woven baskets and wooden trays all provide a neutral backdrop that doesn’t detract from the materials within. Uncluttered, clean and organised storage empowers children to make their own choices.

Working stations

A variety of working surfaces invite children to work at different heights/levels – whichever is
comfortable and supportive for current stages of individual physical development. Mirrors enable children to see themselves in various roles and varied heights such as ladders and platforms allow children to see and think about things from a different perspective. Formal learning stations such as desks and chairs are not part of our provision. They are simply not necessary at this stage of a child’s development. Children need time to develop the core strength and co-ordination skills required for seated learning and these are the skills we focus on.

Documentation and display

Children are immersed in text and symbols to ensure familiarity with literacy and maths. Through visible documentation, they are reminded of their daily experiences and interactions. Displays provide a record of the learning process, reveal connections between events, review past experiences, plans for future experiences, honour children’s words and make learning and reflections visible to children and families. Thoughtful and respectful displays of the process of children’s explorations communicates to children that their work is valued, and that this is their space. The displays we create tell stories of children’s interpretations and naturally infuse the physical space with an authentic identity. Through documentation and display, children see their own ideas and images having an impact on the physical
space around them.

Supporting speech and language development/sensory requirements.

Throughout the provision we create communication friendly spaces which allow children privacy, enclosures and smaller quieter spaces to feel confident to explore language and develop interactions. Language and communication skills are carefully supported in all areas of learning via sensitive scaffolding by experienced Early Years Practitioners.

Nurture times ensure children with delayed or disordered speech are targeted early, inclusive of our Early Years environment. Visual prompts are carefully placed/used to support developing understanding and language skills.

Quiet spaces and sensory resources are accessible to ensure children who struggle to self-regulate can access what they need at all times. Children can access a sensory break whenever they need to…this might look like five minutes alone time in a comfy hammock, a quiet few minutes relaxing in the cabin or lie down gazing into the pond.

Our environment supports all kinds of sensory seeking…feeling the wind in the
wilderness, the rustling of leaves in the orchid, running through the long grass or finding a cosy nook in the willow tunnel!