Play underpins everything we do at Natural Nurture enabling children to learn and develop in every aspect.
Through play, children explore, take risks, practice skills and try out new experiences. They encounter and try to solve problems, they use their imagination, develop creativity and discover their immediate world. They learn to work alongside and with other children, developing language, social and intellectual skills and learning about their emotions.
Most children are able to play spontaneously, although some children may need some support from experienced adults.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is divided into 7 areas of learning.
The three prime areas are: (please click the headings below to see how Natural Nuture promotes these areas)
Children are encouraged to put on their boots and assist initially with their waterproof kit with the aim of dressing independently at a later stage.
They learn toileting and hygiene skills, also promoting independence and developing a sense of achievement.
Through various activities, routines, stories and discussions they learn to respect themselves, others and the environment.
Children learn to take turns and share resources such as waiting for their turn on the rope swing or sharing digging implements in the sand pit.
They help with tasks such as tidying up, fetching wood for the fire, feeding the chickens or sweeping the restaurant floor, building their self-esteem and learning to take responsibility.
We respect children’s attempts at talking and understand that for some children, talking in a group situation is very daunting.
Using inspiring resources such as talking stones, walkie-talkies, songs, games, stories, rhymes or puppets and lots of fun and humour, children are motivated to listen to others, speak, discuss, negotiate, compromise and solve problems.
We introduce new vocabulary to enable them to become effective and confident communicators.
We have an amazing physical area with reclaimed resources where children can design and build large climbing and balancing challenges, using large muscle groups to move resources around and experimenting to find out what works and doesn’t work.
They are able to develop large arm movements through climbing trees and using the rope walk or hauling themselves up slopes with ropes.
We have a variety of hills and slopes where children can climb up and run, roll or even slide down again.
The hay bales are a popular activity where children develop confidence and the necessary skills to jump, run, climb, and slide.
With adult supervision they develop the fine motor skills needed to enjoy activities such as woodwork, sawing logs, using whittling knives, spreading bread or toast, using pens, feathers, charcoal or other writing tools, using scissors etc.
We use music and movement activities to refine physical skills such as practising delicate dance movements with streamers.
We promote healthy eating by growing fruits and vegetables and talking about healthy foods. Children help to sow and care for plants and learn about composting and recycling.
We encourage children to be as independent as possible so they learn to handle their own toileting needs, wash their own hands, feed and eventually dress themselves independently.
They learn about taking risks and risk-assessment and through activities such as being a ‘danger detective’ they identify potential dangers and learn how to minimise or eliminate them.
These prime areas are fundamental, they work together and move through to support development in all other areas of the EYFS guidance.
The four specific areas are:(please click the headings below to see how Natural Nuture promotes these areas)
Making large arm movements with brushes or mops or copying movements in the air, making and using clay, or dough and picking up tiny objects all promote the development of the muscles needed for writing.
Going on listening walks, making up our own stories, doing rhythmic activities and teaching nursery rhymes and songs all promote reading skills.
Alongside these, we always have available the usual resources for mark-making such as pens, felt-tips and pencils as well as charcoal, nature brushes – using leaves or splayed sticks etc as brushes, – sticks in sand or mud, or paint, shaving foam etc on the ground where children can explore mark making in various forms. We use sticks, leaves, clouds and other natural objects to identify and make letters.
We have information sheets around the farm so children can spot wild flowers, insects, butterflies etc and learn that the print under each item relates to the picture and carries meaning.
We read stories and make up our own using our imagination or story stones so children have a good concept of the art of storytelling. We have various storytelling trees and story lines situated around the farm so children can access books easily, enabling them to handle them carefully and identify both pleasure books and information books.
Through rhythmic activities such as using claves or clapping to beats, children become familiar with the rhythm needed for reading.
We will act out stories such as ‘We’re going on a Bear Hunt’ using our natural environment or using music and dance bringing the story to life.
Many of these activities are carried out through spontaneous play in (for instance) the mud kitchens or the physical area, although we also have specific adult led activities to promote these skills.
Children learn to estimate by guessing the number of eggs the chickens have laid and then check by collecting and counting them, using chalks and a chalkboard to make lines or write numbers and matching laminated pictures of eggs to real eggs to compare quantities.
We use mathematical songs, physical and board games and puzzles to teach counting and sequencing skills.
Children make their own geo-boards and use them to make patterns using wool or elastic bands.
Through cookery, children also learn about weights and measures, quantities, estimating, changing consistencies etc.
Children learn to count, match and compare when laying tables for lunch, selecting their fruit or collecting cups and bowls at the end of snack.
They learn first-hand about the changing seasons, weather and cloud formations, the natural cycles of animals, fruits and vegetables, about how to care for animals by feeding the chickens and doves and sometimes the lambs if they need additional support.
The children learn to identify insects and their habitats and make bug hotels which they can explore at a later date.
They learn about risk-taking, making and using fire safely, gravity, differing sounds, light and darkness, floating and sinking.
We are in the process of forming a global village and so far the children have contributed towards making an African mud hut which has involved identifying suitable wood, staking, using tools such as spades, secateurs and loppers, weaving, making mud and applying it to the walls.
The children use walkie-talkies and learn about asking for help, identifying where they are should the adult become injured or unable to call for help.
They explore buttons and switches on an old tractor and a land-rover and see tractors being used on a daily basis and sometimes see tipper trucks in operation.
They take apart old ICT equipment to find out what is inside and how they work.
Children make maps for their own use or so they can programme the Bee Bot to move in various directions.
In the winter, torches are used, giving the children a completely different perspective of their environment.
Resources are provided such as wood, hammers, nails and saws so children are free to make their own creations.
With adult assistance, children use whittling knives and bradawls to make wooden or natural creations such as acorn fairies or magic wands.
We have various musical instruments to explore as well as several music trees hung with natural or recycled objects which they can experiment with.
We hold adult-led musical activities to promote a richer understanding of music.
Other resources such as paint, glue, differing textures, paper, flour, play-dough, clay etc is provided for exploration and experimentation.
We have all sorts of equipment for making dens and shelters from the elements and children learn to use appropriate fabrics according to the weather conditions. Eg, using waterproof material when raining or a sheet to provide shade.
Dressing up clothes are provided to enhance role play and enable children to re-create roles they see everyday.