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Children grow wild at first outdoors nursery

PUBLISHED: 15:09 26 February 2016 | UPDATED: 15:09 26 February 2016

Dandelion Education Limited have moved from Erpingham to Marsham which offer pre-school education to pre school children with outdoors based classes. Pictured is Emma Harwood in the lurk reading stories. 

Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Dandelion Education Limited have moved from Erpingham to Marsham which offer pre-school education to pre school children with outdoors based classes. Pictured is Emma Harwood in the lurk reading stories. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Archant Norfolk 2016

A nursery which bases its ethos on the great outdoors being the best classroom has sown the seeds of success and has now moved to a new bigger site.

The Dandelion Nursery, opened in January 2015 on the site of Erpingham Primary School, in north Norfolk, offering youngsters the chance to experience the great outdoors in all weathers and learn life skills by being close to nature.

After a successful first year they have now moved to a bigger site in Marsham, next to, but separate from, Marsham Primary School.

The school was founded by teachers Hayley Staniforth-Room and Emma Hardwood after they became frustrated with the education system.

Come rain or shine, the nursery is open 49 weeks of the year for children aged from two up to schools age. It also offers The Lions’ Holiday Club for children aged between three and eight in non-term time.

Miss Hardwood said: “The new site is much more accessible. People were finding it very difficult to get into the Erpingham site because of the small roads there. The site at Marsham is bigger as well.”

She said the school now has 28 youngsters on roll and the fullest session has 16 children attending.

Facilities at the new site include a mud kitchen, a ‘real’ construction area with proper wood and bricks, trees to climb and a fire circle.

For drizzly days, there is a bespoke yurt with a wood burner, and comfy sofas for cosy, quiet, reading sessions.

Using specific Dandelion songs, children are taught fire and safety rules, and how to manage risks for themselves.

Dandelion Education is the first outdoors nursery in the country to use both forest school and philosophy for children (P4C) as the core of its child-centred ethos.

The Forest School ethos aims to allow children to take risks in a healthy and supervised environment to help build their independence and self-esteem.

Philosophy For Children involves teaching reasoning and argumentative skills to children by getting them to ask questions,using thought-provoking stimulus such as a written piece or picture book.

For more details on Dandelion Education, visit www.dandelionsnorfolk.com

Do you know of an unusual project being set up near you? Email tracey.gray@archant.co.uk

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