Farm School

Our Farm School

Calling ourselves a ‘nursery school’ or a ‘forest school’ simply doesn’t do justice to the opportunities our Mini Explorers are given, and so the term ‘Farm School’ was coined.

Our nursery lies at the heart of our own fully-working arable farm, and our children are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the farming landscape and its inhabitants every day.

We believe passionately in the importance of exposing children to the natural world at every opportunity in order to grow their confidence, further their understanding of the world about, assist in their cognitive and physical development, and improve their health and well-being.

From our very smallest hatchlings in our baby room to our Farm School fledglings, all our Mini Explorers are given daily opportunities to explore the farm and the beautiful countryside around us, and learn about the natural world, food production, animal welfare and the farming landscape of Crabtree Hall.

Animal adventures

We have built up quite a menagerie since Mini Explorers first opened in 2012. At last rollcall we could boast pigs, sheep, goats, alpacas, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, bearded dragons, fish, hamsters and two very friendly dogs. Our Mini Explorers love getting to know all our animals, and thoroughly enjoy helping to feed and care for them. They are always transfixed by new life coming onto the farm. From lambing in spring to egg-hatching in summer, and the occasional baby boom when we miss-sex our hamsters, there is never a dull moment!

Out on the farm

Farmer Mark is our resident arable farmer and is a fantastic advocate for all that he does. He can often be found striding out across the fields, closely followed by a gaggle of enthusiastic toddlers. He introduces the children to all aspects of his work, from ploughing and crop rotation to drilling and harvesting. And then there are the tractors and the big, noisy farm machines… who doesn’t love a big blue tractor?!

Muddy Green Fingers

Aside from learning about our arable crops and animals, our Mini Explorers also grow and nurture their own fruit, vegetables and herbs in the polytunnels and the thriving nursery gardens of The Paddock. This is a hugely hands on (and sometimes very muddy!) experience, and our children love to immerse themselves in every aspect of the growing process from planting, watering and propagating, through to harvesting, cooking, baking and eating. Yum!

Naturalists in the making

We love to dive headlong into the natural world. Groups of intrepid explorers can often be found perched on tree stumps sawing at sticks (stick whittling is an essential life skill for all our Mini Explorers!), or neck deep in the fields of corn in search of mini beasts and worms.

The benefits of outdoor learning are many. In particular, it has been shown to increase children’s self-esteem, confidence and emotional intelligence. This has a positive impact on a child’s ability to concentrate and learn, which is particularly important for our ‘soon-to-be-at-big-school’ pre-schoolers.

Health, safety and hygiene

Farms are living, working environments and the health, safety and hygiene of our Mini Explorers is at the heart of all our practises. All our outdoor activities are overseen by highly-trained Early Years Educators and specialist teachers. We actively encourage unfettered exploration, but please be assured that there will always be watchful pair of eyes and a ready pair of hands to step in and curb enthusiasms when safety is at risk.

Animal interaction is always very closely supervised, and only the quietest and most docile of characters are allowed to take up residence on the farm. All our Early Years Educators are fully paediatric First Aid trained, and hand washing and cleanliness after animal handling and outdoor activity is an immutable part of our daily routine.

Yorkshire's award-winning Farm School Nursery

WINNER: Best Rural Education or Training Business, UK Rural Business Awards, 2019
RUNNER UP: Outstanding rural diversification project, UK Rural Business Awards, 2017

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