Taking inspiration from our Bassett Bear logo, the vision was to create a nature inspired design that was not only functional but supports the children’s learning and development. We worked together with the brilliant family-run House of Kin team to design a wonderfully unique space that is tailored specifically to our needs, and we can proudly say that nobody else has a space that’s quite like ours!
Our new Nursery space combines both indoor and outdoor learning opportunities where the children can move seamlessly between the two spaces. In the outdoor area we have a sandpit, plants and a multifunctional covered area that can be used for role play, story time and small group activities. Arguably the most exciting feature of our outdoor area though, is the water play station including pump, scales, bowls, and multiple troughs. It’s a miniature version of what you may have seen at the Science Museum and is fabulous for encouraging teamwork.
To aid the children’s physical development, we have included a wonderful climbing structure over two storeys that provides ample opportunities for sliding, climbing, crawling and so much more. Making learning fun and learning through play is key for us so we have incorporated Montessori features within the physical structure to develop knowledge of shape, number, colour and pattern. Our enchanted woodland area also includes a sensory corner, authentic log pile climber and rope bridge encased with oversized woodland leaves. By far the most magical part of the unveiling was seeing how the open-ended design makes for endless opportunities to spark the children’s imagination. The turreted tower has made for a wonderful Rapunzel’s tower and many more things besides.
Decisions including child-friendly toilets, open shelving units and drying racks fitted to art easels were all made with the intention of priming and promoting the children’s independence. We have already seen the positive impact that this has had on the children being able to access resources themselves without being so reliant on adult support to complete tasks. This has helped to foster in our youngest learners the Bassett pillar of Service Leadership.
With our Nursery providing the perfect “den” for our “bear cubs”, our new Reception space is the perfect “bears’ cave”, formed from different textured materials surrounding a 3-storey structure where the children can climb, swing, and navigate various obstacles. The children can get messy and creative in our art area but also collaborate, work together, and play alongside each other using the pulley system and ball tubing fitted within the structure. All of this in addition to their Form room for the more formal, less play-based aspects of the EYFS curriculum, our Early Years children are lucky bear cubs indeed!
It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to work with such a talented team of designers to bring about a shared vision – a space based upon the latest research of how young people learn, and most importantly, a space that says, ‘You matter!’.