An Environment to Thrive In
Exploring and developing the senses
Fun, vibrant, practical and safe
Our Forest Area
a magical place to explore
The Baby Garden
A garden for the littlest Blueberries!
Our Mud Kitchen
Returning to the most basic of play materials
The Growing Area
Our growing area is a thriving plot
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
The EYFS is a framework for learning, development and care for children from birth to eight. Its purpose is not to introduce a curriculum for babies and young children, or to force children to read or write before they are ready. Quite the reverse, it focuses on ensuring that each individual child is able to learn through high quality play that is tailored to them so that they develop at their own pace.
“Play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems, and relate to others. Children learn by leading their own play, and by taking part in play which is guided by adults.”
Staff at the Mulberry bush are trained to work with the Early Years Foundation Stage. We spend a lot of time observing each child to ensure that we are providing the right equipment, atmosphere and staffing so that every child’s learning is extended.
For further information on the EYFS please visit www.foundationyears.org.uk
Sensory play is a fundamental element of what we do at the Mulberry Bush. Whether it is using crunchy cornflakes, gooey gloop or fluffy foam, getting dirty in the mud kitchen or soapy bathing the baby dolls you will find that it plays a part in every child’s day at nursery through many activities. These help children to develop across the board from their motor skills to language and communication. Our bespoke sensory room provides us with a perfect environment for focused sensory play using interactive equipment using sound, light and texture, such as bubble lamps, a light board, LED lighting, fabrics, music and mirrors. Providing a calming and peaceful environment it is perfect for even the smallest babies to explore and enjoy. The babies particularly love the bubble tube and we find it a wonderfully calming environment if a little one is feeling distressed or anxious. This facility is available to all the children and Raspberries, Strawberries and Blueberries have direct, free flow access to the room.
“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.”
Children love to be in the fresh air, to run around, to investigate the natural world and to generally get dirt beneath their nails! Our garden is a wonderful learning and sensory journeythat starts with our environmentally friendly all weather surface. We are one of only a handful of sites in the UK, and the only setting in Hampshire, to be using the ground-breaking Nike Grind play surface. Created from recycled Nike trainers it offers a play surface that is fun, vibrant, practical and safe. Awarded a critical fall height of up to 3 meters it is resistant to abrasion and slipping. It also helps us to demonstrate to the children ways in which we can all recycle in the usual, and unusual ways!
Our Forest Area
Our forest area is a wonderful place to build a den, to hunt for Gruffalos, to make a camp fire (at least a pretend one!), to hunt for mini beasts to study, or to simply to sit beneath the trees in the shade and enjoy the pleasure of being outside.
The Baby Garden
The baby garden has been specifically designed for the littlest Blueberries (babies) 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. We have a large sun shade to ensure that the children are able to spend lots of time outside whatever the weather. The Blueberries are welcome to use all areas of the garden 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, however, we do 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 tomatoes, carrots, beans, lettuces and much, much more, to harvest them and then hand them over to supplement their meals. Our growing area is a thriving plot that the children can see everyday andhave supervised gardening sessions in on a regular basis and that can make a real contribution to their culinary experience and nutrition.