The Learning Tree Day Nursery  

...where we learn to share and we learn to care

Abstract Tree with Flower Patterns

The Learning Tree Blog

By rwhitemarketing, May 1 2018 11:49AM

It's been almost two years since we last blogged about loose parts and we have come so far since.

Loose parts play has become a way of life here at The Learning Tree. The staff have watched the children's deep learning and engagement in these resources and slowly it has ever increasingly become part of the everyday culture here at the nursery.

Loose parts are not toys. Toys are designed with specific purposes; loose parts are not. We have de-cluttered our nursery with this in mind and have really thought about the resources we now offer the children

here. We have very limited plastic toys now, if any, and we have resources which children can use open endedly to engage them and their deep curiosity.

Nicholson's Theroy

The concept of loose parts has been around forever or however long children have played with sticks and stones! The theory of loose parts was created in 1971 by an architect named Simon Nicholson.

Nicholson critized how children were always presented with finished materials, resources and environments that did not allow for any imagination. He believed that all children are creative beings and that this should be nurtured not robbed! The child's creativity comes from open-ended materials that can be constructed, manipulated and transformed through self-directed play. His solution, the way to nurture children's creativity was to give them loose parts and they have delighted children and adults since.

We believe in this theory our children have active minds and active hands with a gift of seeing possibilities that adults miss.In open-ended play children themselves decide what to do, how to do it, and what to use. For children who immerse in it, open ended play evolves in amazing ways. Initially it consists of fluid experimentation. Over time it becomes increasingly purposeful as children start to plan what to act out or invent. '(Community playthings, 2014')

Active learning

When children are active, the synopsis in their brains are fired up and they become motivated to keep on trying, to master new skills and to experiance competence and mastery. Children have a deeper interest in

the activities they are involved in, working out problems, critical thinking and an urge to keep on trying. Loose parts have no fixed outcome therefore the process of exploration, discovery and engagement is where

deep learning happens. (The curiosity approach, 2018)

Take a look at some of the photos of the children using our loose parts resources, you can see the deep thinking and engagement on their faces.

By rwhitemarketing, Jul 12 2017 12:29PM

We have recently been doing some training on how to raise early achievement in Literacy and one of our events was a Doodle Play Day.

On this day we worked with a local school to support parents in understanding how early mark making really helps children to develop the fine motor skills they need to start writing.

Adults will often call the earliest attempts at mark making and drawing, ‘scribble.' However, young children are very interested in their marks and the movements that make them.

These marks will gradually develop into forms that children recognise, for example circular shapes and lines. Movement and form come together as children think "If I do that, I will see a circle or a line here."

Children will eventually move on to representing things they know and an awareness of the distinction between writing and drawing emerges.

Activities such as making marks in shaving foam and cornflour, big and small marks with paint, pens and chalk, manipulating playdough, making large movements with ‘light sabres' and even just spreading butter/soft cheese on toast/crackers all support a child's development in writing.

The aim of our play day at the park, was to show parents how all these fun activities are really great ways to support their children in building up the muscles they need to become great writers. These activities are also exciting for children to engage in and won't be limited to sitting down with a pencil and paper, which despite the best of intentions can end up with a frustrated child! That's not to say this isn't a great idea, sometimes this will be exactly what you both want to do but as our day demonstrated, if you are thinking of some ideas to support your child's early writing, there are endless ways to do this.

During the day parents were shown that they are powerful role models and their children will likely copy what they are doing, so even when you are writing a shopping list or making notes at home and your child is copying and making different marks, they are learning to distinguish and support their gross and fine motor skills.

We hope you have plenty of fun rediscovering the joy of 'doodling' with your children!

By rwhitemarketing, May 10 2017 04:08PM

We have really enjoyed getting musical at our latest training with BANES.

Using songs and rhymes can support babies and young children's listening and attention skills, the development of children's turn taking, providing a sense of wellbeing and can be very soothing for children.

We have also used songs to learn different cultural songs and invited a variety of families from different backgrounds into our setting to all enjoy singing together.

Making time for singing is so important for our children, we make lots of time for it here at The Learning Tree, and this latest training has been a great way for us to learn new songs and enhance what we already do.

We will all enjoy using props such as tap sticks, ribbons, instruments and puppets to make the experience even more fun for the children.


We have even had a large sensory scrunchie made, which we enjoy using when we sing ''we are riding on a pony'', we shake it and shake it and then we stop!! The children have become so involved in the songs and love joining in!

We have noticed singing helps to settle new children into our setting and has been a great tool in helping children with English as an additional language.

All the songs we have learnt have been great for children on a one-to-one or large group basis.

From this training, we will be handing out weekly song sheets so that all our families can enjoy learning new songs with their children at home.


In the meantime, we hope you enjoy listening to your children repeating all our lovely new songs at home!

We love the Jelly song best!

Danielle and Charlotte, Baby Room.

By rwhitemarketing, Feb 23 2017 01:31PM

The Learning Tree Day Nursery Country Walks
The Learning Tree Day Nursery Country Walks

We have been focusing on Forest School again this term, using Jennie's skills to lead some wonderful walks in our local area.

The children have explored the beautiful rural countryside on our doorstep. We have squelched in the mud, climbed gates, waded through swishy swashy grass and jumped in many muddy puddles! This has tied in nicely with the 'bear hunt' active bedtime story making sessions Sam and Jennie have been running, and which many of our families attended.

The Learning Tree Day Nursery Exploring
The Learning Tree Day Nursery Exploring

During our time outdoors we have also been making good use of the opportunity to explore extremes in climate and weather. Making sure we are wearing appropriate clothing, discussing what we need to wear to stay warm and dry and how to stay safe during our Forest sessions.

We run Forest sessions every Tuesday, however, if this is not your child's usual day at nursery please don't feel left out. We carry out lots of Forest inspired activities throughout the week and go on many walks. It is, therefore, important to always have suitable outdoor clothing at the ready for your child to join in the fun.

The Learning Tree Day Nursery Outdoor Learning
The Learning Tree Day Nursery Outdoor Learning

Sam will also be running a 'Bear Hunt' Forest session at Peasdown School's outdoor classroom in the Spring, for all our transitioning children.

The Learning Tree Day Nursery Forest School
The Learning Tree Day Nursery Forest School

By rwhitemarketing, Sep 29 2016 11:56AM

Danielle and Annabel, from our baby room, have been working on this month's blog and it is all about babies feeling and being free!

As a society we encourage our babies to spend as much time as possible in highchairs, baby seats, Bumbo chairs and buggies, all of which restrict a baby's physical movement and development.

Here at The Learning Tree Day Nursery we encourage our babies to spend as much time as possible exploring the environment around them, allowing them to use all their senses.

We have set up our baby room to provide rich learning experiences for our babies. Our areas and resources are accessible for the babies to move around and access themselves. We have also recently been developing a baby sensory garden. We can often be found using this garden and our main garden for free-flow play. The baby sensory garden has been designed to enhance the children's physcial development, encouraging them to crawl, reach, stretch bend and climb. These are all the skills babies require in order to learn how to walk and run.

The recent installation of a 'crawl-in' sandpit in our baby room, allows the babies to experience and play with sand and other sensory activities all day every day!

Sensory activities are often carried out away from the constriants of chairs and hihgchairs. We can frequently be found on the floor, where babies are able to move freely, using their whole bodies and not just their hands. The babies are able to 'come and go' from the activity at their own pace.

We have noticed that not all babies enjoy traditional 'tummy time' however these same children have really enjoyed creative and sensory experiences on their tummies and as such are taking part and enjoying these tummy activities, thanks to the freedom!

For more information on physical development and babies please see the following NHS website: