Wingate Nursery

Wingate Nursery

The way the garden at Wingate has developed over the years since our fist visit is a lesson in understanding the true value of outdoors for children.  Children are not static and neither is this space; pieces of work that seemed perfect are adapted, moved and sometimes taken away entirely, in order to allow the current cohort of children to make an impression on their space.  The garden is not ‘designed’ in the traditional sense of that word, and it’s not there to be admired.   It’s there to be used and loved by the children and families in Wingate.

The Nursery occupies a small space in the middle of a traditional residential estate in the east of County Durham; it’s a close knit village but one with plenty of the challenges ex-coal field communities face.  The setting offers an oasis of space, creativity and care and the children (aged 3 to 5) are confident and friendly.

The question of what can be done outdoors in a fairly small space has tested the Headteacher  and her team for many years and with each visit it looks different outdoors.  They don’t see outdoors as a ‘project’ but as their continually evolving learning environment.  As such it reflects the changing interests of the children, the changing needs of the curriculum and the passions of the staff as they develop their own professional skills.

The Assistant Head at Wingate, has flair and a deep understanding of the importance of play in childhood; she never fails to inspire with a whole bundle of new ideas to share with other settings.  Her focus on healthy, active, curious children, with a respect for their environment and each other means that children at Wingate are risk takers, talkers and sharers.  They work and play collaboratively and think nothing of showing younger children how to use a (real) hammer and (real) nails to build a new play structure.  They enjoy playing with staff who encourage experimentation and in a landscape that provides the resources and the ‘canvas’ for exciting play.

“Its an Aladdin’s cave of excitement and challenge, both indoors and outside.  This makes a significant contribution to the excellent progress and the very positive attitudes to learning.  Its exceptionally well planned to take on board children’s interests.  There is an excellent range of high quality, well organised, accessible resources and activities.”
Ofsted 2008

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Learning through Landscapes

Ground Floor
F Block
Clarendon House
Monarch Way
Winchester SO22 5PW

01962 846258