Setting & Routine


Our Mini Explorers have free rein over 260 acres of rolling countryside. We also know that they need a warm, cosy and safe environment to relax in when their ‘work’ on the farm is done.
Set in gorgeous converted stables at Crabtree Hall, our Mini Explorers have access to five airy, light-filled indoor playrooms (these are where you will normally drop off and pick up your children each day), as well as some fantastic outdoor spaces which have been adapted and sculpted by our children. Our children journey from Baby Bunnies to Farm School 2 in cohorts groups, rather than being moved from class to class according to their age (*ages listed below are indicative only). This promotes unity and a real sense of belonging amongsy the children and allows them to form strong friendships during their four-year adventure with us.

Baby Bunnies and Hoppity Hares (Babies)

Our Baby Bunnies and Hoppity Hares Baby Rooms (0-2yrs*) look out over The Paddock and farmland beyond. Baby Bunnies is dedicated to our tiniest non-walking Mini Explorers, and has a stimulating sensory focus which is ideally suited to this age group. Next door, Hoppity Hares is a warm, safe and inspiring environment with a wonderful nursery gym. This is where we encourage our adventurous little walkers to develop their gross motor skills as they climb, crawl, hide and explore. In each of our baby rooms, cosy dream coracles allow our babies to crawl inside and snuggle down for a sleep, whilst our very own sheltered baby garden means that we can throw open our doors and allow unfettered indoor/outdoor access whenever the weather allows.

Dalmatian Room (Toddlers)

Our toddler room (2-3yrs*) is constantly evolving to reflect the seasons and the ever-changing interests of our energetic little toddlers. From our cosy reading corner and our themed role play areas, to our hugely popular ‘messy materials’ water table and our resident bearded dragons, all our toddlers are encouraged to explore, ‘investigate, socialise, wonder and – most importantly – play and have fun.

Farm School 1 (3+)

Farm School 1 (3yrs +*) is a happy, stimulating environment where we begin to prepare our children for life beyond nursery. Our Farm School pioneers re-live their outdoor adventures and dream up new ones through role play, messy play, investigation, construction, small world and so much more. Resources are placed in baskets on open shelves to allow children independent access.

At one end of the room, The Pepperpot is our cosy snug with its olde worlde hearth and plump cushions, where we enjoy quieter activities, story times and music. At the other end, The Veranda offers a sheltered outdoor space where we enjoy fresh air and exercise in the very worst of weathers. In springtime, when we have orphaned lambs on the farm, we set up a temporary crèche here so our children can bottle feed and care for our newest and fluffiest arrivals!

Farm School 2 (pre-school year)

In their final year at Mini Explorers our oldest adventurers are encourage to develop their sense of independence and confidence by embracing all that our farm has to offer. Based in the glorious glass-fronted, oak-framed Farm School 2, our pre-schoolers enjoy direct access into The Paddock where they help to feed and look after our animals and kitchen gardens. And when their tired little legs need a rest, they can hunker down in the cosy reading snug, or enjoy some quiet time in ‘Paddock View’ (a play house with a difference!) until they’re ready to go, go, go all over again.

The Orchard Play Area

The Orchard Play Area is home to our enormous sandpit where rip-roaring adventures abound! These adventures inevitably spill over into the surrounding grassland where young apple trees offer dappled shade and a plentiful supply of fresh fruit in the autumn.

The Paddock

Our bountiful kitchen gardens and polytunnels are the main feature of The Paddock, where our children take the lead in planting, nurturing and harvesting fruits, vegetables and herbs for our kitchens. The Paddock is also home to our resident rare-breed chickens; egg collecting teaches our Mini Explorers to have very gentle hands! At the back of The Paddock, the mud kitchen comes into its own in winter.

Our Routines

Our days are sculpted by the seasons and the farming calendar, but we stick to an established schedule for mealtimes and rest times for the benefit of all out Mini Explorers.

A Gentle Start…

Our days begin at 7am with a warm welcome and a chat to our parents as they drop off their children. Breakfast is served from 7am. As with all our meals, breakfast is a very sociable occasion and we encourage our children to help prepare the food.

Good Morning World!

With breakfast cleared away, we often start the day with a ‘Good Morning’ song and a little chat about what we would all like to do that day.

A farming we will go…

Now it’s time for the fun to start! We throw open the doors to the veranda and the baby garden, and, for our older children at least, it will soon be time to put on sunhats and sunscreen (or wellies and waterproofs) and head outdoors for some adventures.

Snacks on the go

We often take our morning snacks on the go, especially if our adventures have taken us far across the fields. Hands will be thoroughly cleaned and we’ll all sit down on the grass, or under a tree, to fill up our tummies ready for some more fun before lunch.

Leisurely Lunch

After a busy morning, we know how important it is for our children to eat a nutritious, balanced, home-cooked meal. We head back to the nursery to join our friends for a sociable feast around the table.

Afternoon Lull

The natural dip after lunch is when our children are encouraged to take their daily nap and enjoy some quiet, relaxed activities and down time.

Here we go again!

As the afternoon gets into full swing we will normally head outdoors again for lots more exploration, investigation and fresh air.

Time for Tea

A substantial home-cooked tea will keep us all fully-fuelled until the end of the day. Once more, our meal times are all about socialising and sharing stories and yummy food together.

Winding Down

As our day draws to a close, now is the time when we encourage our older children to share responsibility for helping to tidy away activities after a busy day. For the younger children, it’s the perfect time for to snuggle up and share some much-loved storybooks and music.

Heading Home

As our families arrive to collect their children, each child’s key worker will let their parents know all about the adventures of the day and be ready to answer any questions or queries.

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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