A Day In The Life
A typical day? There’s no such thing! Each day at Little Wild Tribe is a little different depending on where the children guide us in their interests and curiosities, the weather and even their interactions with each other. But we do have a typical daily rhythm of care and play that is both responsive and fluid to enable deep engagement.
When children arrive at Little Wild Lodge in the morning, they are greeted by our thoughtful and caring practitioners who ensure secure relationships are formed, building positive connections and helping children to settle into nursery life. Each child has a key worker to ensure children feel nurtured and supported. Our Little Wild Lodge is a safe space that promotes togetherness and friendship; it’s a place children can feel comfortable to snuggle down, imagine or explore with confidence. Far removed from an institutionalized sterile setting, we want it to feel like an extension of home, where there are a range of playful learning invitations set up to spark our children’s imagination, curiosity, ideas and questions.
For those children arriving in the morning, they will enjoy a nutritious, filling breakfast (see what we eat), and have time to play with the many beautiful toys, genuine resources and natural loose parts and materials available. We are advocates of the power of play in early childhood and the many ways in which different forms of play support young children’s learning and development. We focus on providing an environment that will allow children to use their natural curiosity to discover the fun in learning. We provide a range of meaningful activities including singing, dancing, art and craft, story-telling, trips to the farm, gardening in the allotment, languages, piano, guitar, percussion, violin, baking, cooking, yoga and mindfulness and even philosophy – yes, philosophy! Our little ones have brains that are made to ask why!
We don’t separate our children by age bands for many reasons; there is research to demonstrate that play in mixed age groups carries some real advantages for both older and younger children. A mixed-aged group environment promotes the relationships similar to a family set up – children learn to play and communicate appropriately, much like brothers and sisters, where the younger children learn from the older children and the older children similarly build confidence in their knowledge and developed social skills with their younger peers. Research shows that one of the greatest ways children learn is from each other rather than adults, and those in small multi-age groups often display less competitive behaviour and greater displays of helpfulness and empathy.
At around 9am, we make sure the confident walkers are appropriately dressed for the day ahead in the great outdoors where we plan to spend the majority of the day; whether that’s lathering on the sunscreen for a hot day or laying up on a cold day and everything in between! (see what to wear for more info). We provide a comprehensive settling in and induction programme for both parents and children. Whilst some children are just born to spend their days outside, we also recognise that not all children are used to, or ready to spend up to six hours in one day outside so we offer a gentle induction to life in the woodland for those that require it.
“The first time children go out into the forest they are tripping over rocks and roots… Eventually they are like little billy goats running up and down slippery slopes, coming back to base with muddy faces and rosy cheeks.”
In the woods, we play! We provide and ignite possibilities for children’s exploration, imagination, and creativity to provide meaningful and fun learning experiences; den building, imaginative play, natural arts, making and using tools, singing, mindfulness – there’s no shortage of things to do! Our base outside is Little Wild Wood, which is fully secure and boundaried and only used by us. Within our woods, we have a range of resources to make it cosy, warm and comfortable including tents, shelters and hammocks, as well as our fully staffed campfire where children enjoy their hot lunch, which we freshly cook at our Lodge and bring down to the woods. At around 3pm, we then take the short walk back to our Little Wild Lodge where they can enjoy their afternoon tea as well as having opportunity to cosy up in our indoor play haven or continue their outdoor play within the boundary of the lodge.
But what about the babies?
Whilst we don’t separate our children by age, we of course recognise that our littlest non-walking children have differing needs and so we carefully cater for them too. A typical day in the life of a baby here at Little Wild Tribe is just as fun and stimulating! We understand that the organisation of a child’s brain is affected by early experiences and the environment and these effects last a life time. By the age of three, a child’s brain has reached 80% of its adult volume. So it is absolutely vital that we don’t just leave babies to sit in a room all day long! The research demonstrates that emotional and physical wellbeing, sensory stimulation and sleep are more important in babyhood than at any other time.
Our baby room at Little Wild Lodge offers a calm and tranquil atmosphere, to ensure children feel cosy, secure and don’t become over-stimulated. Babies love to explore with their hands, mouths and feet so we provide lots of different natural textures and organic experiences. Whilst our littlest, non-walking children don’t spend their day in the woods, we do make sure that they spend lots of time outside in our bespoke outdoor area within the boundary of the lodge. We know it’s so important to give them the fresh air and vitamin D they need too, so we ensure they spend as much time outside as possible. Whether they are enjoying stories with grown ups in the sensory garden full of the smells of spring, using sticks to mix up some mud in the mud kitchen, being taken out in the buggy for a lovely walk or toddling around barefoot in the meadow, there really is no better sensory experience than seeing the shadows of light dancing in the trees, feeling the grass in between your toes or the soft breeze on your cheeks. Our babies have the freedom, time and space they deserve to explore and discover the natural world around them, and to experience all the treasures our beautiful world has to hold.