Next Door To Nature

Outdoor learning helps pre-school children to flourish at Ashbridge. Stephanie Sparrow reports

Not all classrooms have walls – the outdoors can be a stimulating learning environment too. This is the ethos of Ashbridge Independent School and Nursery, which has four pre-schools in the Preston area. All classes are run by qualified early years teachers and provide extended opportunities, while fulfilling the Early Years Foundation Stage.

“Learning outdoors is a large part of what we do,” says Ashbridge director of compliance Charlotte Bingham Brindle.

All the pre-schools are next door to nature, from the woodlands at Lindle Lane and Maxy Farm, to the grounds of Fledglings at Myerscough College.

Meanwhile, the waterside setting of Ashbridge on Ribble nursery has inspired an innovative River School – a suite of learning areas based around a full-size boat, mounted on dry land.

They access a wide range of facilities including an outdoor role play village, kitchen gardens, a crafts workshop and adventure playgrounds. Each has at least one member of staff trained in forest school education.

To equip children for the next stage, whether its own school in Hutton or other local schools, Ashbridge encourages independence. “They eat freshly cooked meals together every day and are encouraged to create their own games and challenges,” says Charlotte.

“Our provision of outdoor education, gardening and extended time outdoors goes beyond the normal pre-school environment,” she says. “We not only prepare children for school but for the wider world.”

Ashbridge Independent School and Nursery
Lindle Lane, Hutton, Preston PR4 4AQ
01772 619900



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