We at Danesmoor have begun the process of becoming one of the first accredited Forest Schools in the region. The process should take around 6 months and once we have been assessed and qualified we will be entitled to join the Forest School Association. This is the professional body and UK wide voice for Forest School, promoting best practice, cohesion and ‘quality Forest School for all’. Only accredited Forest School Practitioners and Schools are able to join this body.
What is a Forest School?
Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees. The philosophy of Forest Schools is to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through an innovative, long term, educational approach to outdoor play and learning in a woodland environment.
Forest School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland education.
The ethos is shared by thousands of trained practitioners across the UK and beyond. Its roots reach back to early years pioneers in outdoor learning and across the sea to Scandinavia.
Research has shown that Forest Schools increase young people’s self-confidence and self-esteem and evaluation suggests Forest Schools make a difference in the following ways:
- Confidence: children had the freedom, time and space to learn and demonstrate independence
- Social skills: children gained increased awareness of the consequences of their actions on peers through team activities such as sharing tools and participating in play
- Communication: language development was prompted by the children’s sensory experiences
- Motivation: the woodland tended to fascinate the children and they developed a keenness to participate and the ability to concentrate over longer periods of time
- Physical skills: these improvements were characterised by the development of physical stamina and gross and fine motor skills
- Knowledge and understanding: the children developed an interest in the natural surroundings and respect for the environment
We are extremely fortunate to have an extensive wooded area within our grounds. We therefore intend to practice the Forest School Ethos alongside the Early Years Foundation Stage to give all our children a truly unique and rounded experience.
Look out for further updates on our Facebook Page where we will share lots of photographs and blogs showing our training experiences, beginning 19th September!
Work begins this term on the Maths Champions Research Project, in conjunction with Durham University and the NDNA (National Day Nurseries Association). Maths Champions is initially a year long programme which supports children and staff by embedding maths into play and activities. Led by a designated graduate member of staff (in our case our Qualified Early Years Teacher, Rachel) its aim is to build confidence in maths among children and practitioners.
95% of Maths Champions have found improvements in children’s maths development!
Sarah and the children have being getting creative on the topic of dinosaurs. After making their dinosaur cave, Sarah got them started on looking at shapes of bones made out of cardboard. The children painted them white, and today we hung the bones up. We now have our very own dinosaur. Big creative outcomes can be achieved with the children if they only have to do little bits at a time. We are now going to ask the children to come up with a name for this terrifying beast!
We have had a busy summer making important changes to our pre-school and car park.
The changes to the pre school room are aimed at improving the opportunities for pre school. The layout has completely changed and new furniture installed to increase engagement in all the learning areas. The dining room has been moved into what was the 0-1 room and this has enabled us to increase the space available for the children without increasing the capacity of the pre school. This will improve your child’s daily experience and build on the excellent work already being done with the children.
There is a second round of pre-school investment to be made in December.
Outside the car park is being improved to increase the number of drop off and pick up points and the driveway being made wider to reduce congestion at the entrance at busy times.
The next major set of works will be completed in the outside area in December. A decked outside area will become an out door classroom and dining space for children and the level of the garden will be raised and a sports grass surface will be used to improve drainage.
The community room is also moving downstairs to provide extra space for the 18 month to three age group. Giving them access to 2 large rooms and a dedicated sleep room upstairs.
We hope you all feel the benefit of these changes and would ask you to bear with us whilst changes are being made.
On their own each of these pictures would look fantastic. Bringing them together to create something bigger is even better. Thank you to Sara our resident artist for creating an amazing piece of artwork and something that the children can look at with pride and say, I did that!
Planning in the nursery is very important. When you have a group of children to look after for a few hours you need to plan exactly what you want them to do. At Danesmoor House Day Nursery we don’t plan the activity, our practitioners start with the stage of development that your child is at and then plans how they are going to move them on to that all important next step or revisiting a skill until they really have mastered it. This means that the team are focused on what they can do to make a difference to your child, not the production of 5 flower paintings in one morning.
It is easy to focus on the activity and let the nursery environment become like a small factory in which artwork can be produced. At Danesmoor House Day Nursery our staff are focused on how they can make a difference to your child’s day by observing, supporting, and nurturing in an environment that allows your child to develop naturally, developing and deepening skills and understanding rather than rushing to the next activity on the tick list.
The Indoor Garden
The Indoor Garden becomes a role play area, a counting area, a teaching tool for recognising shapes and names of vegetables or a starting point for the story of “Stone Soup” or “The Incredibly Large Turnip”. Your child has the opportunity to have a variety of learning opportunities explored and supported by our team, and has not simply been given a single activity to complete.
Christmas is soon to be upon us and before we know it the new year will be with us. To celebrate the beginning of a new year we are offering a free first month to new parents who sign up for a place in our baby rooms in January for a minimum of 6 months.
Our baby rooms are all centred around exploration of the senses, getting your child ready for walking and preparing them for talking. There is no minimum requirement, so even if you want just one morning a week for your child to play with his peers, and engage in a myriad of activities that will help them grow and develop, we can work with you to find the work/ family and me time balance that you are looking for whilst your child is looked after by a trusted team of well qualified professional Nursery Nurses.
Call Claire and Rachel on 01325 355010 for more details.