A new £1.7 million nursery will be opening in a Nottinghamshire village. The Small People Nursery in Cropwell Bishop will cater for children aged six weeks to five years.
The children will spend almost all of their time outside in the nursery’s acre of land rather than staying in a classroom. They will learn English, maths and languages in addition to learning how to grow vegetables, cook healthy meals, look after farm animals and make art with natural materials.
The nursery building is a former pub with more than a year’s work carried out to transform it into a childcare setting. £1.7 million has been invested in the business by mum-of-two Lisa Smal. Eighteen months ago, the 42-year-old left her “high-powered” recruitment job and set up the nursery, which she claims is the first of its kind in the country.
Lisa added: “When I was younger the child care available to me was awful. I want to create the environment I would have liked my kids to have had.
“It is proven that children develop faster in an outdoor environment.
“If the weather is bad we will provide outdoor wear. Obviously if it’s minus 20 I am not going to send them out but I think we protect children from the outdoors too much nowadays.
“When I was growing up in South Africa my life was more outdoors. This is not reinventing the wheel, I have just taken learning outside and the benefits of that outweigh the lack of heat.”
The nursery will be able to care for up to 60 children. It is still awaiting Ofsted approval but is ready to open with nine staff.
The nursery has different areas which include a construction role play area with building blocks and costumes, a jungle gym with a climbing wall and a large field that the children can run in.
There will be staff on hand speaking Mandarin, French and Spanish, so children can start picking up different languages as they play.
The nursery will be open from 7 am to 7 pm on weekdays and the daily cost of care will be £58.
Conservative councillor Gordon Moore, who represents the Cropwell ward at Rushcliffe Borough Council, said: “The building used to be the Lime Kiln, which was one of my regulars before it shut.
“I am very happy that the building is now being used and not just another empty closed down pub, and I wish them the best of luck.”
Mrs Smal is also looking for organisations who help disabled or disadvantaged children to get in touch to collaborate.
The nursery will be holding open evenings over the next three weeks from 6 pm to 8 pm for parents to have a look around.