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The Mayor of Croydon has launched a new era of learning and play at Woodcote Day Nursery following a make-over that puts the ‘great’ into their outdoor environments.
Councillor Patricia Hay-Justice joined parents, children and staff for celebrations at the newly refurbished day nursery in Woodcote Valley Road, Purley, where garden attractions include a child-sized farm area, life-size wicker animals, mud kitchen, giant slide and roadway circuit. Unveiling a commemorative plaque and cutting a cake styled on the new garden, Cllr. Hay-Justice praised dedicated staff.
“I am particularly delighted to see the imaginative use of garden space which clearly encourages children into the fresh air all year round. Apart from the health benefits of fresh air and exercise, I can see that children are having fun and, as a result, must be learning a great deal,” she said.
Woodcote Manager, Claire Wadmore, said staff were as excited as the children with the new facilities and attractions: “We have to engage a child’s natural curiosity and wonder at the earliest opportunity and our magical garden is doing just that; inspiring staff and children alike and providing endless opportunities for fun and learning.”
In all but the most extreme weather, children and practitioners can organise their ‘livestock’ and plant, tend and harvest herbs and vegetables learning maths, science and respect for the environment as they go.
“All children, including babies, are encouraged to explore and investigate and to question and contribute in a process that not only builds self-esteem but helps practitioners identify particular interests and talents,” said Claire.
In fact, nearly all activities in the imaginative, age-appropriate play and learning spaces inside, transfer into the great outdoors with children moving between the two environments to, for example, record insect and bug discoveries – in the specially created ‘habitat’ in the garden - on internal computers.
Woodcote Day Nursery is part of the award-winning Childbase Partnership, the UK’s 10th largest employee-owned business and one of only 165 organisations to be rated ‘Extraordinary’ by Best Companies this year.