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‘Enquiries are sky-rocketing’ - Plans for outdoor nursery approved

PUBLISHED: 08:00 25 July 2020

Plans for a woodland nursery in Aylsham have been given the green light. Picture: Dandelion Nursery

Plans for a woodland nursery in Aylsham have been given the green light. Picture: Dandelion Nursery

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Plans for an outdoor nursery which has seen a “sky-rocketing” number of enquires have been given the green light.

Managing directors, Emma Harwood, left, and Hayley Room at the Dandelion Education outside nursery at Marsham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYManaging directors, Emma Harwood, left, and Hayley Room at the Dandelion Education outside nursery at Marsham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Broadland District Council has approved plans for a nursery at the Brick Kiln wood in Aylsham from award-winning Dandelion Education Limited.

They have been running a nursery on the site since last year but, while waiting for the bid to be given the go-ahead, said they feared the nursery would close.

Plans for a woodland nursery in Aylsham have been given the green light. Picture: Dandelion NurseryPlans for a woodland nursery in Aylsham have been given the green light. Picture: Dandelion Nursery

Now, though, owners Emma Harwood and Hayley Room, say they are “delighted” with the decision and plan to run the nursery at the woodland site for “decades to come.”

In the meantime, Miss Harwood said enquiries for places had a “sky-rocketed” with an average of five parents trying to secure places a day, compared to five a week previously.

Plans for a woodland nursery in Aylsham have been given the green light. Picture: Dandelion NurseryPlans for a woodland nursery in Aylsham have been given the green light. Picture: Dandelion Nursery

She added the coronavirus pandemic had highlighted that children do “not need plastic toys and lights.”

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Miss Harwood, who worked as a primary school teacher for nearly 20 years, said: “Lots of nurseries are closing because of Covid-19. And I think, more generally, people are realising what we always knew - that it’s better to learn outside.

“Children are a lot calmer when they are outdoors and the wood has everything we need. There are climbing stations and all sort of things they can play and learn with. High-quality teaching does not mean children need to sit in a classroom.

“If we had needed to close, it would have been really sad and we would have needed to lay off workers which would have been terrible.

“It would have been a shame for children as there is nothing else like us for them - certainly no nurseries like us who offer philosophy classes.”

The nursery features a moveable yurt, four wooden sheds and two wooden composting toilets.

In total, there will be five members of staff and a maximum of 30 pupils at the Brick Kiln nursery.

Dandelion Education Limited also has a permanent site at Eaton Vale in Norwich and Miss Harwood said they would be looking to recruit more staff across both sites in the future.

She added: “It is a rare and privileged position to be able to offer jobs during the coronavirus pandemic and we are extremely lucky.”


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