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Why a Forest Kindergarten?

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Our kindergarten is an outdoor alternative to pre-school, a place where the ceiling and floor changes every day! A secure natural space where children can explore and develop their imagination, take risks and build on social and team building skills, confidence and self-esteem. With 20 acres of magical woodland to explore children have the freedom and space to be children, to run and hide, climb and balance. We build dens and light fires and support children in their natural curiosity and hands on understanding of the natural world. We sing, tell stories and cook on the campfire. Every day is different as the environment creates new learning opportunities with its ever changing seasons.

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Fun

At My Little Explorers we are all big kids at heart and love to play in the woods, ‘lets go on a bear hunt’ or play hide and seek, “1,2, 3 where are you”. Playing games around the fire circle is a fun way teach children to stay safe by staying outside our circle of logs.

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Self-esteem and confidence

We provide a safe and stimulating environment in which children can feel happy and secure, with our encouragement, praise and positive attitude children are keen to face new challenges and feel good about themselves.

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Independence and resilience

With our child initiated ethos and our encouragement to ‘have a go’ children build in confidence and if things don’t go right first time we are always on hand to praise and encourage. Falling over can become a game, children learn to become resilient, brush themselves down, pick themselves up and have another go.

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Social and communication skills

Children become the risk assessors and are encouraged to team up and problem solve together, pulling the trolley through the woods and negotiating their path or building a pirate ship carrying different lengths of wood together. There are plenty of opportunities for children to use their imagination and communicate ideas and feelings in a variety of ways.

  • Ages
    My Little Explorers forest kindergarten is open during the term time for children aged between 2 years to 5 years old. During the holidays, we run activity camps and bushcraft days for children aged from 4 years up.
  • Funding
    Free Entitlement At MLE Forest School we offer 15 hour, 30 hour and 2 Year Funding. 15 hour funding for 3-4 year olds All 3 and 4-year-olds in England qualify for 570 free hours of childcare per year. This is usually taken as 15 hours per week over 38 weeks of the year. Your child will qualify for the free hours the term after their 3rd birthday. 30 hour funding An additional 15 hours funding is also available to many working families who meet the government-set criteria, again from the funding period following a child’s 3rd birthday. Like the 15 hours funding, the full 30 hours is for 38 weeks of the year. To qualify, both parents should be working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family), and each parent earns, on average – A weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage and less than £100,000 per year, including self-employment. Parents are required to apply for the additional 15 hours of free childcare through HMRC and must reconfirm their eligibility every 3 months. For further information www.gov.uk/apply-30-hours-free-tax-free-childcare At My Little Explorers we are pleased to offer parents the flexibility to use their funded hours on any of their regular termly booked sessions, up to the maximum allowance per week for the funded period. Funding cannot be carried forward from one funding period to the next. Funding for 2 year olds* Funding for 2 year olds may be available for families who qualify for some government benefit schemes. For further information www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/free-childcare-2-year-olds MLE are pleased to offer 2yr funded places for those children who qualify. *Please note that the newly announced funding for 2 year olds will commence on 1st April 2024 and will be available for all 2 year olds from the term after they turn 2. Further details have not been released yet, please see the government website for more information. Tax free childcare Working families can benefit from tax free childcare by paying through their HMRC tax free childcare account. For every £8 paid into the account by parents, a £2 top up payment will be made by the government, up to a maximum of £2000 per year. i.e. for £10,000 of childcare in 1 year, the government will pay £2,000 of this figure. For more information on tax free childcare and government funded hours, visit:www.childcarechoices.gov.uk Discounts If your child does not qualify for any funded hours, we can offer one of the following: - 10% Sibling Discount for the elder sibling once a younger child attends the same sessions.
  • Session information
    My Little Explorers is open Monday to Friday with sessions as follows: Tuesday 9:00am – 4:00pm - Forest school session Wednesday 9:00am - 1:00pm Morning forest school session or 9:00am - 4:00pm Forest school session Friday 9:00am – 1:00pm - Morning forest school session or 9:00am - 4:00pm Forest school session
  • Clothing
    At My Little Explorers we WILL be going outside, come rain, come shine so it is really important that the children have appropriate clothing. There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing! Clothes needed include: Change of clothes (full set including extra socks and pants) Full set of waterproofs* Small fleece blanket A nice warm jumper* In summer: Please include sunscreen and sun hat In winter: Please include a warm hat, gloves, scarf and wellies or snow boots Rucksack (if possible small enough for your child to carry, big enough to contain the kit above!) * My Little Explorer hoodies are available from us for £15. We can recommend a suppler who specialises in waterproofs which we use and are highly recommended. Designed in Scandinavia, these dungaree and jacket sets are great all year round – light and breathable for summer but very waterproof and windproof for winter (they can also be layered underneath with thermals, trousers and jumpers for extra warmth).
  • Food
    We encourage healthy eating and provide fruit or a healthy option during the day for snack time. Children need to bring their own lunch box and always bring a water bottle which we can top up if necessary. We are often in the woods having lunch around the campfire so finger foods are good, or a nice flask of soup or pasta for those colder days. Soap and water or wet wipes are used for hand washing before eating. Please be aware that we have a no-nuts policy.
  • Applying for a place
    To apply for a place at My Little Explorers please complete the online application form: Registration Form Kindergarten. Once a place has been confirmed you will be asked for a £75 fee to secure a place with us (£50 deposit refundable upon leaving the nursery and £25 administration fee). A deposit is not required for those children only accessing their free entitlement hours.

“My daughter loves being outdoors in all weathers, My Little Explorers embraces nature and what the weather throws at them! when she comes home with a smile on her face and dirt in her hair I know she's had a good day!”

—  Angela R

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