Eco-Nurseries designed for free-flow access to the outdoors

The Learning Escape at Danesfield Manor School

In recent years there has been a cultural shift in our society that has subtly eroded the access to outdoors for many young children. A number of factors have played their part in this change, including increased fears about safety and technological advances which have led to an overwhelming array of sedentary, indoor activities. However, the developmental needs of young children have remained constant. 



Regular exposure to the outdoor environment is essential to their physical health and development and their general wellbeing. It is also proven to enhance children’s self-discipline, ability to concentrate and their behaviour.


Outdoor play and contact with the natural world supports early years children as they learn to problem solve and assess risk. Nature’s rich playground nurtures their creativity, providing a myriad of opportunities to develop their imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness. The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum, which became statutory in 2008, places strong emphasis on the value of daily outdoor experiences for all children from birth to the end of the Reception year. Providers of nursery care, contending with a significant range of developmental stages amongst the children entrusted to them, can often find it difficult to provide access to the outdoors for all children, every day, in all weathers.


However, a play and learning environment that flows seamlessly between the indoors and outside, makes for a highly efficient use of human resources as well as acting as a natural stimulant to the children’s interest in, and enthusiasm for, being outdoors. Our eco-nurseries are designed specifically to bridge the gap between inside and out. Floor to ceiling windows and bi-folding doors not only drench the interior in natural light, but also provide uninterrupted views of, and access to, the outdoors. Our covered, decked play areas and walkways allow the children to flow freely from indoors to out, even on damp days. Furthermore, as each of our buildings are constructed on a stand-alone basis the outdoor play space can be made fully secure using our beautiful timber fencing.


Children get to play, explore and effortlessly learn about their natural environment and staff can rest assured that everyone is safe. And everybody reaps the benefit of being in a brilliantly lit, tranquil space…well, as tranquil as can be expected with a full cohort of early years explorers in full flow!