Together with the Atlantic Centre of Excellence Trust (ACE), we’ve submitted an application to create and manage a nature-inspired nursery as part of the proposed ACE Sky Academy primary school.

It forms part of the plans for West Carclaze Eco-Community, and the idea is that it provides the key first step for the youngest children of the area in becoming globally and environmentally aware and fully prepared for life and learning in the 21st century.

What sort of activities pupils will do

Up to 60 three- and four-year-old children will have the fabulous opportunity to spend around 80% of their time in a stimulating, safe and ever-changing outdoor environment. Here a just few examples of activities: 

  • Learning through nature, nurturing children’s love of learning and giving them varied opportunities for vocabulary development.
  • Taking care of wildlife and animals, to develop personal, social and emotional skills.
  • A campfire, where pupils can cook, share food, chat and sing together, as well as foster social skills and gain an understanding of risk.
  • Growing, gardening and cooking, encouraging children to try novel and healthy foods.

What the nursery will look like

There’ll certainly be a stimulating outdoor landscape, which the pupils themselves will have the opportunity to shape alongside staff. This shaping and changing of the world around them is a key citizenship skill.

There will also, of course, be a cosy, welcoming indoor base. The primary school and nursery buildings are to be as self-sufficient as possible, potentially featuring ground source or geothermal heating, PV solar panels, water harvesting and energy efficient lighting.  

Who it’s for

The nursery will serve primarily the growing eco-community at West Carclaze as well as meeting the wider local need. It’s anticipated that many of ACE Sky Academy’s children will enter their reception year having attended the nursery.

Why Eden is involved

The nursery capitalises on Eden’s expertise in using the outdoors as an enabling environment for learning. We are true advocates of the outdoor learning approach and believe that it leads to significant benefits for children’s health, happiness, well-being and development; in their relationship to nature and each other; and that it is the best start to formal education.

When it’s all happening

A funding application was submitted in September 2016, and it’s hoped that the nursery school will open in September 2018, subject to permission.

Tell us what you think

You can make your opinion heard on these plans by completing ACE’s online questionnaire.