An Environment to Thrive In
The Great Outdoors!
We are hugely proud that we are able to offer each age group their own dedicated sensory room. This enables us to provide the children with a tailored environment. Sensory rooms are a magical place and the children love them, fully of interactive equipment using sound, light and texture, such as bubble lamps, light boards, LED lighting, fabrics, music and mirrors our sensory rooms can be hugely stimulating but also very calming and peaceful depending on the needs of the children at that time. Sensory rooms were originally designed for children with autism or other learning difficulties or behavioural challenges, however, they are wonderful environments for all young children. By altering the light/sound/textures around them we can manipulate the sensory experience for the children, or they can do it for themselves, to create an environment that is encourages them engage in and explore their environment in a very different way to standard play spaces. As well as being great fun we find that these rooms can provide a calming and peaceful environment it is perfect for even the smallest babies to explore and enjoy. We find that they can be wonderfully calming environments if a little one is feeling distressed or anxious.
“The outdoors offers young children essential experiences vital to their well-being, health and development in all areas. Children who miss these experiences are significantly deprived. Outdoors, children can have the freedom to explore different ways of ‘being’, feeling, behaving and interacting; they have space – physical (up as well as sideways), mental and emotional; they have room and permission to be active, interactive, messy, noisy and work on a large scale; they may feel less controlled by adults. The real contact with the elements, seasons and the natural world, the range of perspectives, sensations and environments – multi-dimensional and multi-sensory, and the daily change, uncertainty, surprise and excitement all contribute to the desire young children have to be outside. It cannot be the same indoors, a child cannot be the same indoors – outdoors is a vital, special and deeply engaging place for young children.” Jan White ‘Natural Play’
Children love to be in the fresh air, to run around, to investigate the natural world and to generally get dirt beneath their nails! The Mulberry Bush Bitterne Park offers a spectacular outdoor learning environment unique in the area. The huge garden (500m2) has been designed along side Timotay Playscapes, the UK’s premier playgroup company to provide an ideal outdoor environment for all the Mulberry Bush children. There is a fabulous water and sand play area with pumps and pulleys to create rivers and dams among the cobbles. There are areas for den making, growing beds for the children to help grow our own fruit and vegetables, and lots of natural play areas that encourage investigation of the natural world.
The Baby Garden:
The Blueberries and Strawberries have their own garden space specifically designed for even the smallest children so that they can have plenty of fresh air and their own outdoor experience in safety, even when the more mobile children are out at play. The babies garden is fully sheltered meaning they can have outdoor access whatever the weather. The outdoor space is full of interesting challenges for the children and they are encouraged to be confident to access this area independently during periods of free flow play. Of course the Blueberries are not restricted to this space and are encouraged to use the larger garden area whenever they would like, but here they have a space all to themselves.
Our Mud Kitchen
Children love nothing more than mixing water and mud and ‘cooking’ up a banquet so we have designed a whole mud kitchen for them to do just that! Over the last few years mud play has become a major focus in outdoor play across the world. Inspired originally by International Mud Day 2011 which began with a programme in Nepal, the return to the most basic of play materials has been recognised as beneficial for children in many ways. “There is little more important in our physical world than earth and water and they are truly intriguing things, especially when they interact. Mixing soil, water and a range of other natural materials has a foundational role in early childhood which has deep importance and endless possibilities for well-being, development and learning. The breadth and depth of what these experiences offer young children is truly remarkable.” www.muddyfaces.co.uk
We provide high quality wet-weather salopettes for each child so that everyone can get out into the fresh air in all weathers and to protect their clothing. We do however, ask that parents provide wellies and advise parents to dress their children in clothing that can get a little muddy!
The Growing Area
The growing area is fundamental to our ethos at the Mulberry bush. We believe passionately in providing children with delicious, nutritious food and also helping them to learn about where their food comes from. They will have the opportunity to grow their own crops of fruits and vegetables, to harvest them and then hand them over to our cook to supplement their meals. Our growing area is a thriving plot that the children help to take care of. The children help with all aspects for growing from planting seeds and transferring seedlings, assist in watering our plants everyday throughout the summer and then helping to harvest our crops as they ripen. The food that we grow is taken to our nursery chef in the kitchen to be included in our meals whenever possible, or sometimes, in the case of strawberries and raspberries, simply eaten straight away! To see our healthy choices click here