The Nature Kindergarten opens from 7:30am – 6:00pm Monday to Friday.
Yes, we provide a number of options at Nature Kindergarten for both preschool and afterschool
|Preschool options:||Afterschool options:|
|5 full days||5 afternoons|
|3 full days||4 afternoons|
|5 mornings (9 – 1pm)||3 afternoons|
|5 mornings (7:30 – 2pm)||2 afternoons|
For prices please contact our enquiries team.
Your age profile for preschool at Nature Kindergarten ranges from 2 years 10 months to 5 years old.
The age profile for Afterschool is 5+
We require that children be fully toilet trained and have a little independence before starting.
No Nature Kindergarten remains open for school holidays including the summer months. However we do close for a period over Christmas, as well as Bank Holidays and Good Friday.
If your child is eligible for the ECCE scheme then this funding will be deducted from your monthly Nature Kindergarten fee. For more information go to our ECCE information page here (old link >> http://bit.ly/1Xa9JPV)
The ratio at Nature Kindergarten is 1:6 for preschool and 1:8 for after-school.
Nature Kindergarten is set in five acres of beautiful forest land at Killruddery Estate in Bray Co. Wicklow. This has provided the perfect space in which to develop our Nature Kindergarten and the area offers endless possibilities for natural outdoor play. At Nature Kindergarten we have a range of fantastic facilities including our log cabin and our tee-pee tent. We also have a friendship swing, spider web, rope-bridge, balance ropes and much more!
No, all meals and snacks are included and these are prepared by our head chef. We provide a wide variety of healthy foods and will cater for any dietary requirements or preferences. All of our food is non-processed and free from additives. Nutrition is a priority at Park Academy Childcare and this is reflected in our wholesome menus. See our nutrition page here.
Yes the children spend all day outdoors, aside from mealtimes when they eat inside the log cabin. Our clothing policy is designed to protect children in all weathers and only in cases of extreme weather will the children stay inside. Our motto is ‘there is no such thing as bad weather – only bad clothing!’
Our clothing policy recommends a layered approach, so that garments can be added to or taken off when necessary. This way the children can regulate their own temperatures and we can always be prepared for the changeable Irish weather.
The first layer is a thermal layer, followed by a fleece layer, and on top of this is a waterproof layer -usually a separate dungarees and jacket. The layers need to be thin and not bulky in order to allow the children to move freely. In addition to this, the children also wear wellies, gloves, hats and snoods depending on the weather conditions. In addition to this, the thick foliage that surrounds Nature Kindergarten provides a surprising level of coverage from the elements, whether that’s protecting children from the rain or providing shade in strong sunlight.
At Nature Kindergarten, children are given the space and time to learn in a natural environment, through play and exploration. This child led approach is at the core of the Nature Kindergarten philosophy. The children’s learning will revolve around what interests them, what is naturally happening around them (i.e. the seasons, the flora and fauna etc.) and what they instinctually need for their development during this period.
Through their activities, the children learn a variety of different skills from fire lighting and wood chopping, to bark whittling and cooking. Learning occurs naturally through fun and interesting projects, for example by building a den the children will learn about weight, height, slope, gradient, measurement, safety, balance, problem solving, creativity, leadership skills and persistence. Our Outdoor Educators are committed to extending the children’s education and so will utilize every child-led initiative as an opportunity for learning.
These activities also have huge benefits for a child’s emotional and social skills as they encourage teamwork and promote self-esteem and a feeling of belonging. These valuable skills will have a positive impact on all areas of a child’s life.
Our Nature Kindergarten ethos reflects the goals of the Aistear Curriculum and the children record their learning achievements in their own personal Aistear book. This way parents can be involved in their learning journey and see the experience and skills that the children have developed during their time at Nature Kindergarten.
For more information this, please visit our Nature Kindergarten page here.’
Our ethos at Nature Kindergarten is not just to prepare our children for school, but more importantly to prepare them for life. The children will gain many valuable life skills such as independence, confidence, teamwork, coordination and persistence – all of which will be of great benefit to them when they start school. Nature Kindergarten promotes school readiness in many indirect ways, whether that’s enhancing a child’s concentration skills through bark whittling or enabling children to develop conflict resolution skills as they work together on a construction project. Children need strong core muscles to help them sit for hours at school, and the Nature Kindergarten helps develop this physical strength through activities such as climbing, balancing and lifting. It also helps in the development a child’s vestibular and proprioceptive senses, as well as the development of the pincer grip, all of which are key areas for learning how to read and write.
Most importantly of all though, the Nature Kindergarten will instil a ‘love of learning’ in our children, and this is a fantastic gift to give a child as they start out their educational journey. A child who has developed a love of learning will carry this with them throughout their whole life and will approach education with a positivity and sense of wonder that simply cannot be taught.
A number of our preschool graduates have now moved on to primary school and the feedback we have gotten from their teachers has been extremely positive. These teachers have reported that children who attended Nature Kindergarten displayed excellent concentration skills, as well as strong resilience and self-confidence. These children have also adapted very well to the classroom and overall school environment and have performed highly on pre reading and writing tasks in Junior Infants.
For more information, please see our Nature Kindergarten section here.’