When stepping into the garden at Maples many of our visitors share the same response; "Oh wow, I wasn't expecting this."
Sitting at the edge of Acton Park, we are surrounded by nature: there are large trees around the garden and a wealth of plants, space and activities available, whatever the weather!
Our outside area provides activities that they truly reflect life outdoors. We offer opportunity to climb, ride, run, explore and investigate, while developing skills across all areas of the early years curriculum.
In this area of the garden children are encouraged to develop their physical skills. Climbing the hill using ropes to pull themselves up, scrambling up the rock area to reach the top of the slide or using steps to develop balance. The area offers lots of opportunity to work as a team and understand the need to wait and take turns.
Children learn to look after living things; whether searching for minibeasts, watching the chicks in the nest or planting and growing vegetables. In autumn we will have a bumper crop of apples and pears, which the children will pick and share at snack time.
The mud kitchen is probably one of the most popular areas of the garden. It is essentially an outdoor play space where children can pretend to cook and prepare food using natural materials such as mud, sand and water. The area supports children's creativity, imagination, exploration and concentration. It helps children to connect with nature and develop a love of the great outdoors.
Children have the opportunity to read and create recipe cards, explore how materials change when mixed together and work with others. When you stand back and watch a small group of children playing in the mud kitchen you will see them practicing key teamwork skills, such as sharing, turn taking and negotiating.
By providing a wide range of activities and experiences, children who enjoy being outdoors have opportunity to develop a wide range of skills and knowledge.