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Outdoor nursery thinks up ways to embrace the big freeze

Children taking part in wintry outdoor activities at Dandelion Education outdoor nursery in Marsham. Picture: Courtesy Emma Harwood

Children taking part in wintry outdoor activities at Dandelion Education outdoor nursery in Marsham. Picture: Courtesy Emma Harwood

Archant

Most schoolchildren would have been huddled inside if they had been able to make it to classes during the cold and snowy weather.

Children taking part in wintry outdoor activities at Dandelion Education outdoor nursery in Marsham. Picture: Courtesy Emma HarwoodChildren taking part in wintry outdoor activities at Dandelion Education outdoor nursery in Marsham. Picture: Courtesy Emma Harwood

But one Norfolk nursery has been prepared to take an entirely different approach to the severe conditions brought about by the so-called Beast from the East.

Dandelion Education outdoor nursery in Marsham was ready to embrace the deep freeze by running activities for its youngsters that are normally impossible.

However, despite staff being on hand at the school, no parents were actually able to make it to the nursery due to the hazardous road conditions.

Emma Harwood, who started the outdoor nursery with Hayley Staniforth-Room in 2015, said: “We were really excited when we saw the snow as the fun and learning opportunities are almost endless.

Children taking part in wintry outdoor activities at Dandelion Education outdoor nursery in Marsham. Picture: Courtesy Emma HarwoodChildren taking part in wintry outdoor activities at Dandelion Education outdoor nursery in Marsham. Picture: Courtesy Emma Harwood

“Unfortunately, because of the roads it was too dangerous for families to make the journey.

“If they had been able to come we would have used the snow to look at changing states of materials to teach science, and make fire breathing snow dragons from snow and wicks.

“We would have built snow people and thought of stories for them - to teach understanding the world, literacy and expressive arts.

“We would have used sticks dipped in warm water to draw and write in the snow to teach literacy and expressive arts.

“The children would have taken and edited their own photos to teach technology.

“We would even have problem solved as we thought of ways to stop the chicken’s water from freezing.”

But come rain, hail, snow or shine, the nursery has much in store for this year, with plans to open a second site in Eaton Vale, Norwich.

Ms Staniforth-Room said: “We hope that our Ofsted success, and several other recent accolades, have demonstrated that excellence in early years schooling can be met in unique and innovative ways.

“Learning can be fun and fun can be learning.”

The new site is set to open on April 16, and has capacity for 25 children per day.

The nursery won a national Nursery of the Year Award at the Nursery World Awards last year.

Dandelion also provides special sessions for home-educated children.


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