When your little one arrives, they are welcomed at the main nursery building when they head into the hall for breakfast. This a time when the treetops staff talk to the children about the day ahead and together collect any additional resources needed to meet children’s interest and personal learning.
Then wellies on and off we go to Treetops camp.
The entrance to the camp has a self-registration board where children sign themselves in. The gate closes behind them and the fun begins!
Children then gather within the outdoor classroom for their morning welcome song and circle time.
Children assist the staff before exploration begins to walk around and do camp checks to ensure that areas are safe, boundaries and gates are secure. This allows children to assess risk so they can act responsibly as the outdoor environment is ever changing dependant on wildlife and weather conditions.
Learning is planned for the day, but it is extremely important that teachers are responsive in their approach and this could be through children’s questioning and interests or merely what the environment presents on the day. When we see that morning for example the spring daffodils and bluebells have popped through the ground, this can inspire children to look at seasonal change and colours around us, or, if it is raining, we need to plan extra shelters which gives opportunities for problem solving, working together and considering others.
The areas outdoors give the same learning experiences as indoors with a free flow approach for children to make their own choices for discovery and learning.
Children understand the ‘camp’ rules and when they hear “1-2-3 Come to me” the children gather together and this mainly happens for times such as discussion time or snack and refreshments, fresh fruit with water to keep us cool or, a lovely warming hot chocolate to keep us cosy on the cold days.
Being outdoors gives us a wealth of resources just by using nature and the natural things all around us. For maths and numeracy, we can collect, sort and count stones, sticks and leaves. We can look at shapes around us in the natural environment and every day these observations are presented differently. The classroom hut is equipped with various resources and writing materials for children to record their findings.
The children have freedom to explore and as we say, if we take the walls away, children cannot bounce off them and how true that is!
The children explore and engage in many different activities from hunting for minibeasts, bird watching, making mud pies in the mud kitchen, or learning basic woodwork within our joinery section. Not forgetting the joy of den building which allows children to become creative thinkers and active in their own learning and planning.
Being outdoors gives the children a healthy appetite and once those tummy’s start to rumble we gather together at the hand wash station in preparation for lunch time.
Lunch is enjoyed with all children and staff, where we have the opportunity to discuss the morning activities and observe how children have reacted to what they have seen and done.
The afternoon continues with more activities and our much-loved story times which can sometimes be around our firepit with the odd song thrown in …. Not forgetting of course, the joy of also toasting marshmallows which puts a smile on every child’s face.
As the day draws to an end, children are involved in a camp check and work together putting resources back in their areas, ensuring everything is left safe with the excitement of another day ahead.
Of course the children share their lovely place with many wildlife friends such as Mr Squirrel and Mr Rabbit, not to forget prickly hedgehog and the mouse family, which also may visit our fairy garden. We enjoy watching our birds nesting and spreading their wings from our bird watch station and of course keep a lovely Bugingham Palace for all our little minibeasts to live in comfort and safety. We learn about the importance of our wildlife and how to care for them. We also learn about the trees and plants and observe the changes that occur throughout the seasons.
The children often look very muddy, but their rosy cheeks still shine through, their eyes still sparkle even though after a busy day in the fresh air, they are often ready to close for sleep.
As we say goodbye for the day and the twinkly lights come on in the trees we look back at the magic this place holds and cannot wait to return for more adventure!!