On the top of a hill in the heart of the South Downs National Park, with views that stretch as far as the Isle of Wight, you will find Ditcham Park School.
Ditcham is renowned for its incredible 16 acre site and outstanding approach to education, care and wellbeing. As you walk towards their front entrance, carved above the oak doors is their powerful mission statement: 'where every child is known and valued'. It certainly feels this way when you meet the students and passionate teachers - a home from home.
Now, onto the exciting part... Ditcham Dragonflies!
I have been fortunate to see many early years settings over the years but I have never seen one quite like this. The design of Ditcham's brand new eco-style nursery is totally unique. Graham Spawforth, the school’s Headmaster showed me the initial design plans and I could not wait to visit and see how the new nursery was taking form - it certainly did not disappoint...
The building has been designed as an extension of not only the main school but the natural woodland and countryside that it is surrounded by. The outside walls of the building are covered in plant pots to facilitate a natural living wall, which in time is going to look fantastic!
One of my favourite aspects of the building is the natural cork tree that is the central focus inside, it certainly helps to bring the outdoors inside!
Aside from this eco-friendly, state-of-the-art nursery building, it is the ethos, curriculum and teaching that is at the heart of Ditcham's success. The nursery aims to create a learning environment that nurtures, supports and cares for each child and their individual abilities. "Each child’s imagination, creativity and learning is fostered and supported, working with the magic and wonder of childhood.”
Play is at the forefront of all learning and children have the opportunity to explore their own interests with the support of their excellent teachers. Small class sizes enable each child to flourish, grow and be themselves, whilst experiencing a wide range of activities like crafts, dance, singing and cooking. The children are a part of the whole school community and have access to lessons taught by specialist teachers, such as yoga, drama, music and PE.
The natural environment is right on the nursery’s doorstep, so the children are able to visit the woodlands and outdoor spaces daily. They love to go searching for mini-beasts, or you will find them making mud pies and visiting the Ditcham Dragon!
"Over their time in nursery, the children are encouraged to have a go, and to be proud, to ask questions and be inquisitive, and to grow in independence.”
The nursery has a flexible approach to the daily routine so they can cater for each child's individual needs. Teaching is a mixture of adult and child led activities, which support self confidence, esteem and independence, ensuring children are ready for their transition into reception.
Ditcham Dragonflies offers children an enabling environment that fosters a love of learning and exploration through supportive teaching and most importantly, play!
For more information about Ditcham Dragonflies, head to their website - www.ditchampark.com
Or get in contact:
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone - 01730 825 659
Photography by Gemma Klein
& The Childcare Guru