New classroom

High Bank Day Nursery has further increased the learning opportunities for children after investing £80,000 in a new classroom.

Known as the ‘Curiosity Cabin’, the timber framed building was opened recently at our farm-based nursery in Stapleton, near Darlington.

It sits next to, and complements, a large poly-tunnel which was converted into an ‘outdoor’ classroom in 2020 to provide pre-school children with their own separate ‘bubble’ after the nursery re-opened following a closure enforced by Government Covid-19 restrictions.

The new building has been designed to mirror a classroom environment with tables and chairs set out like they are at a school, along with other learning resources the children will encounter when they start ‘big school’.

The polytunnel is being retained and used as a role-play and ‘small world’ area following ‘The Curiosity Approach’, which involves using natural materials and items you would normally see at home.

Lesley Thompson, Owner of High Bank Day Nursery, said: “We are delighted to have been able to open our new dedicated pre-school classroom.”

“Along with the polytunnel it provides a truly unique learning environment for the children, alongside our mini-farm and forest school.”

To prepare for its re-opening June 2020 following the first national lockdown, High Bank, which is rated as outstanding by Ofsted, altered its original layout to allow it to run safely and effectively during the pandemic.

Moving the pre-school (3 to 5 years) children to a dedicated area on the farm resulted in more space being freed up inside the original nursery building, which opened in 2004, for younger children.

Mrs Thompson added: “The health, safety and wellbeing of the children, parents and staff remains our number one priority, and the new pre-school building reflects this.

“It provides our older children with even more space to learn and develop, whilst ensuring the younger ones also have more space in their respective rooms as they continue their learning journey at High Bank.”

The building was supplied by Swift Timber Homes and designed by Johnson Clark Ltd Architects.

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