“I put my children into Castlegate as good reputation also the hours I needed for childcare was perfect here. My daughter just moved into Tweed Room and loves being outside, or anything which involves making a mess. She loves coming to the nursery to play with her friends and have fun.”
The benefits of outdoor play are endless – children can explore, risk take, develop fine and gross motor skills, physically exercise, experiment, expand, change, shout, sing and create! They learn about the world around them through maths, science, literacy, ecology, gardening, the ever changing seasons and the weather. They can problem solve and enquire, and being outdoors is hugely beneficial to children’s health and the development of their social skills.
The Care Inspectorate’s ‘My World Outdoors’ summarises a growing body of research that shows that young children’s access to nature and outdoor learning is positively associated with improved self esteem, physical health, development of language skills and disposition to learning. They also believe that all children and young people should enjoy high quality play opportunities, particularly outdoor free play in stimulating spaces with access to nature, on a daily basis in school, nursery and early learning and childcare. If you’re looking for a setting where this is fully understood and clear from your child’s experiences, then Castlegate is the setting for you!
OUR OUTDOOR CLASSROOMS
Here at Castlegate we love the outdoors and like to play in any weather. If it’s raining we put our waterproof suits on, if it’s sunny we apply our sun cream and hats, and if it’s snowing we cosy up and get out to build a snowman! We just love our children to experience all kinds of weather and to get the most out of their outdoor play experience. When we’re outdoors we very much focus on what the children want to learn through continued observation of how they use their environment to play, and also we ask them what they want to do – they are always full of fantastic, creative ideas! We like them to learn about the world around them especially the nature in our garden and woods, and they do this naturally by being outside and experiencing their environment through the year. They also have the opportunity to grow, pick and eat their own produce, from our veg beds, greenhouse and orchard.
We are very fortunate to have two large outdoor classroom – to the back and to the side of our building – as well as a beautiful baby garden. All the outdoor spaces include wooded areas and grassy areas, creating a rich variety of places for children to play, learn and develop. The children get to experience every season outdoors: watching the first snowdrops pop up, baby birds fledging from their nests, leaves changing colour and noticing any new wildlife in our garden. Nature gives so much to the children and equally to the staff, which is why outdoor play, which leads to outdoor learning, are such strong elements of our provision.
CASTLEGATE IN THE WOODS
During the Coronavirus pandemic we had to restrict our offsite woodland adventures, and we are so lucky to have brilliant facilities onsite, included wooded areas, where we could continue the ethos of our forest school experiences from previous years. From August 2021 we will gradually reintroduce woodland trips within the local area, and we are lucky to have some lovely areas including the affectionately name ‘Gruffalo Woods’ within walking distance of Castlegate. These trips allow the children to build on the knowledge and skills they learn through their outdoor learning at our setting, and take those into the wider, wilder environment.
In the woods they take part in lots of child led learning activities and adult supervised activities: looking for animals, building dens, having outdoor snack. These are fantastic opportunities for the children to experience a fully natural outdoor environment, working in small groups with their class staff and experiencing nature at its best, entirely uninterrupted. Seonaid is a qualified Forest School Leader and is available to provide guidance to the different classes, and to help us rustle up a campfire snack every now and then, which of course we love!
What The Parents Say
“Lovely friendly staff who bond and grow as your child moves through the classes. Still can’t believe how attached my daughter is to all the girls.”
“Outdoor play, trips to the woods looking for animals and flowers! Baking – she enjoyed a tasty pizza for tea tonight that she had made, I had a wee taste it really was delicious! Lovely meals at lunchtimes and a great choice and selection. My daughter loved the sand pit as a baby and my son too, so much we got one at home too and they enjoy almost every day.”
“Your Facebook Page is excellent! So informative and great pics etc. Great for other family and parents to see what’s going on.”
“Prize draws for money off a good idea too and switching to digital payments is fab! Like the breakdown of fees too.”
“Going back to work is always hard, and with my son at 8 months old – Castlegate was the best choice for me in terms of childcare as they could deliver what I needed in a safe and trusting environment. The girls in the baby room made me feel so relaxed about leaving my son all day. They are amazing at their jobs, he has such an adventure every day learning new things and interacting with other kids. I love that he gets to have fun outside in all weathers!”
“I am so glad we have Castlegate as somewhere where my son can go and have fun. It’s not just about childcare there, it’s about learning and enjoying themselves – he loves it. “
“I use Castlegate as I know that my children will receive the best of care from the dedicated staff. It also suits my needs in that Castlegate is only closed for the 2 weeks during the year which means I can use the services pretty much all year round. I like that I can drop my children off early in the morning and they are taken to school meaning I can start work earlier.”
“My children love being outdoors and trying new things which Castlegate offers in abundance. They find all the staff very approachable. In a nutshell, I would describe Castlegate as one big family where I can have the confidence to leave my children and know that they will be nurtured and cared for.”
“Great nursery, close to our home easy to access by walking but also great parking. Availability to wrap funded sessions into a full day to cover work and lack of family members to drop/collect if using one of the schools. Brilliant outdoor facilities secure & safe gardens.”
“My little boy is one and has been in the baby room for about 4 months and seems to have settled in well. I pay for lunches as they get lots of different foods, also cater for kids with food allergies which is a massive help. The staff are all amazing here I never worry about leaving them.”