The Back to the Garden Nursery Design
"What children learn does not follow as an automatic result from what is taught, rather, it is in large part due to the children’s own doing, as a consequence of their activities and our resources."
Loris Malaguzzi, The Hundred Languages of Children
Loris Malaguzzi, inspirer of the Reggio Emilia approach, said there are three teachers…the parent, the teacher and the environment. We have created a nursery where the team can set out stimulating activities, indoor and outside, to allow children to experiment and explore.
The nursery is designed around the paired home base concept which we developed in the 1990s following visits to Holland and Germany with Roger Stephenson, our (renowned) architect. Each pair becomes a small nursery within the large building giving the children a feeling of belonging, security and relating to a small group of staff with each child having a key worker. Shared toileting facilities link the two homebases and in one of the rooms is a low level “play” sink allowing for children to access water to fill containers for water play. One half of the pair is, therefore, better equipped for dry, less messy activities.
The building has the usual facilities, staff room, storage , etc. and there are many safety and security features including biometric access controls, external CCTV, hinge protectors, low temperature radiators, temperature controlled hot water supplied to child sinks, raised door handles on doors where children shouldn’t have unaccompanied access.
The kitchen is a state of the art commercial design with stainless steel surfaces, steam oven and induction hob allowing us to provide the best meals for the children
The design gives flexibility in that any age group can be in any of the units. We can place children in age/stage groups or across the age/stage spectrum allowing older children to mix with younger ones from time to time.
The internal links to the outdoors where there is an all weather play area, planting beds for the children to grow herbs and vegetables. There are shaded, sailcloth areas outside of the two baby units to allow babies to sleep outside.