It’s been just over 4 months since we opened our new Treehouse Club branch in Great Totham and our team members have loved meeting and welcoming brand-new faces at our preschool.
The Treehouse Club Approach For Great Totham
The Treehouse Club is unique to other Nurseries and Preschools in Essex, as we prioritise providing children with a Forestry Education. Due to the specific locations of each branch, we can teach children with a hands-on experience in our natural settings, meaning they can develop their confidence and self-esteem through play.
Based at the heart of Great Totham, in the local village hall, the preschool provides a safe space for children to play, develop and grow in a naturally light space filled with natural toys. We encourage our children to be outside as much as possible by exploring the local area and access to our secure outdoor play area.
Local outdoor adventure visits to stimulate growing minds!
St Peter’s Church:
The children love their walk to the local church they observe road safety and the local wildlife, and are often greeted by ponies, horses, goats, and sheep in a smallholding. As the church is always open, our team takes the children inside to look at the beautiful stained-glass windows and quietly talk about what happens at church.
The local fields provide a great opportunity for our children to hunt for mini-beasts, and collect natural materials to make crafts, such as spiders out of twigs.
The Quarry Park:
Another popular spot for our treehouse club members! The children thoroughly enjoy the freedom of running around a large field that also has an adventure playground with a zip wire, which is a firm favourite for all the children!
Being near the preschool, the children frequently visit the grounds of the cricket club. In the surrounding area, there is a conker and acorn tree, the children have enjoyed collecting conkers and acorns this autumn, and discussing what acorns need to grow while planting them in induvial pots back at The Treehouse Club.
Nature Created The Greatest Classroom, The Outdoors
We believe it is vitally important for children to have as much access as possible to the natural outdoors environment and for lessons and play to be delivered outside as much as possible. This allows them to connect with nature in a fun, friendly, and stimulating way. And so, when we were looking to expand The Treehouse Club, we dedicated time to research the local area, to find outdoor spaces that already existed that we could utilise. The Great Totham area provided us with an opportunity to set up our new Forestry preschool in a rural area and a village filled with a community dedicated to preserving their local area.
Alongside the children’s trips out at Great Totham, this type of learning is also encouraged through their daily activities. For example:
Integrating Nature Into Learning
- Natural materials are used as part of crafts projects.
- Conker rolling: the children roll their conkers through their chosen colours of paint to create their own artistic creations.
- Landscape: The natural resources are also used to create a backdrop on their tuff trays, for the Zoo, Farm, and Minibeast.
- As a group activity, the children collected a large quantity of leaves, twigs, acorns and using PVA glue, they collectively made a large ‘Autumn Wreath’.
- Leaf bracelets are a favourite activity of the children, by treading wool through each leaf and joining them up to create a bracelet.
- To encourage fine motor skill development, we collect twigs on our walks to create twig mobiles, using different colours of thread/wool/beads, the children hang the beads on the thread from the twigs to create the mobile.
These types of activities done independently and, in a group, help a child’s learning and development being tied to natural recreation.
Each day, our team takes the children outside as much as possible, as there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing! On top of this, we have a qualified Forestry Instructor, Amanda, who visits all our settings on a weekly basis. She teaches and shares a more in-depth understanding of the wildlife and outdoors with the children.
Our parents at Great Totham have been enjoying the new setting too have a look at their testimonials so far for Great Totham!
“We are really happy, Axel seems to have progressed and settled well. His speech has come along leaps and bounds and we feel the setting is nurturing for him, he is certainly very tired when he comes home after his busy days at preschool!”