The Filthy Squirrel Way

'Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.’ Yeats

Children are naturally curious.


Their expanding minds, always inquiring, on a search for answers like tiny little scientists discovering things for the first time. As educators, our role is not to ‘teach’ children, but to build on their natural curiosity of the world, to scaffolding their learning and build on what they already know. And what better place to do this than in our ever-changing woodland, a natural classroom without the confines of four walls.

By forming strong relationships with both children and parents, we gain a deeper understanding of our children. We know what excites them, what makes them tick, where they excel and where they might need guidance. With positive encouragement, role modelling, intuitive suggestions and open questioning, we can transform their fun and exciting play in the great outdoors, into deep and meaningful learning opportunities.

As with other more traditional settings, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage, but we’ve taken the EYFS and covered it in mud. The EYFS is broken into 7 areas of learning. Communication and Language, Physical Development, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World, and Expressive Arts and Design. Our wonderful environment offers endless opportunities to build on the developmental stages within these areas of learning. 

 “A child can hold a pencil, write their own name, count to 100 or recognise all the colours and shapes, but if they don’t know how to make friends, manage their emotions, resolve conflict, to be independent and have self-help skills, none of the other stuff matters.” 

- The Curiosity Approach

The outdoors offers a wide range of ‘risky play’ activities. Not as scary as it sounds, risky play is essential if we want children to grow into confident and resilient little people. Climbing a little higher, running a little faster, or jumping a little further challenges children physically and mentally, learning their own boundaries, developing risk assessing skills, using and developing core body muscles. In addition to these skills, (which are all part of the developmental journey towards being able to focus and write) conversational skills are growing, language is developing and problem solving skills are increased. Children are learning that things may not always go as planned the first time, they adapt, they know that failure is not a bad thing, but an opportunity to try again. All these skills are imperative as they begin their educational journey through the schooling system, and more importantly, as well rounded little humans.

The Threshing Barn, Unit 8,

Fifield Bavant,

Wiltshire, SP5 5HT