Where to begin with expressing my appreciation about the Treehouse Club? In short, I feel my daughter Amelie is one of the luckiest children in the world to be given such a wonderful opportunity to attend this preschool – a place of play, learning and exploration in a wood; where the kids get to have fun, and learn, outside for the most part of the day. Not just half an hour, but the most part. This is a very unique place. There are numerous advantages to allowing (not all; but most) children to be outside – one being the development of a healthy and happy body and mind.
Amelie has been attending for just a few months, and she is thriving: she loves the place, sometimes it's hard to get her to leave. The staff appear to be a connected team of positive, intelligent, sensitive people who have reassuringly tuned into the needs (and nature) of my daughter. Seeing her completely forget about her concerns of 'getting dirty' as she embraces me completely covered in mud with a beaming smile, is heart-warming stuff. But don't worry, they are not always covered in mud! And they are well-kitted out for this.
I love the variety of things that they do: exploring the 'garden' attached to the preschool building, with it's pond, wheelbarrows, hammock, gardening tools, and little hill for sliding down on mud trays… as well as the walks and exploration of Norsey Woods. My daughter is a slow walker, but there is no pressure for her to 'keep up' and there are enough staff to supervise the children allowing them to go at their own pace. I'm still taken aback by the Pirate Ship that the kids made themselves out of tree branches. The inside of the centre is equally charming – with its beautiful wooden tree-house for the children to roam around in, and light-filled room. There are many other activities that take place inside the preschool. Amelie, who has a speech delay, has come on leaps and bounds in the last few months in terms of her communication.
We will be leaving Billericay in a few weeks, and although Amelie's stay at the nursery has been relatively short (3 months), the bottom line is that even this short stay has been an absolute gift to her. And I'm so grateful.
One small point – don't forget to wear wellies when you pick up and drop the kids off as sometimes there are a few puddles. In winter only of course. However, this is a very small price to pay for your children to be living their preschool years in a beautiful, protected, wooded setting.