I had the pleasure of attending the Little Learners nursery in Northampton on Saturday for a professional development event, what a fantastic experience. The nursery is in a old building, previously used by the hospital, and many of the architectural features have remained, including the high wooden ceilings, antique furniture and colossal mirrors! The children are presented with an array of small rooms, each providing a different experience – including a room with the floor completely covered in sand. They have only been open a year and have already worked wonders with the space they have.
The use of natural resources was a theme that underpinned everything on display at the nursery, with every room providing more and more uses for sticks, stones and seed pods. We have recently been working with several nurseries to move away from a plastic orientated environment, and it was wonderful to see what can be done without any plastic toys in sight. I was surprised to find that the majority of their resources were also provided by parents – a resource that many of us don’t use to our advantage. Don’t be afraid to ask parents for the things you need, logs to egg boxes, you never know what they might have hiding away at home!
The professional development event was attended by over 60 people from around the UK and around the world of Early Years, including practitioners, mangers, ex-ofsted inspectors and primary teachers. Everyone had an excellent time, and all the conversations I was involved in were inspiring, it was hard not to be with so many fantastic activities set up throughout the nursery.
You can see pictures of many of the little rooms and loads of activities on facebook here, and even one of me speaking. Hopefully you can get some inspiration from the comfort of your own home (or setting) by having a quick look through. Thank you to Little Learners for organising such an amazing event, we are already looking forward to the next one!
About the author: Matt Stanford