Tes Awards: Early years setting of the year

'An outstanding outdoor nursery providing daily activities and experiences for children in natural surroundings': Little Forest Folk is 2019's early years setting of the year

Tes awards: Early years setting of the year

Little Forest Folk Wimbledon was the first fully outdoor nursery for children in London when it opened in 2015.

Back then, the concept of outdoor education was relatively unknown here in the UK but the revolutionary idea quickly attracted the attention of like-minded parents.

One parent described her son’s experience as like being “in a fairytale” set in a woodland where children run, jump, climb trees and become creative, resilient learners and explorers. Another parent said: “Children visibly relax and wallow in their forest experiences. Then they rise to natural, developmental challenges while learning about risk taking, problem solving, and creative and critical thinking.”

When parents said they wanted to do more together as families, the nursery’s response was to set up group holidays to Tuscany, which now run twice a year. There are also information days on which parents can learn about outdoor education and the benefits of “risky play”.

The nursery is so popular that it is now offering a reception year after some parents didn’t want their children to leave and head off to primary school.

The judges were particularly impressed by the nursery offering 12 per cent of its places free to parents who can’t afford to pay. “Little Forest Folk is an outstanding outdoor nursery providing daily activities and experiences for children in natural surroundings,” they added.

To find out who’s won as it's announced, follow #TesAwards on Twitter. To discover more about the magic behind the awards, click here 

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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