Come and join us at Small Steps Day care for a truly magical forest inspired school adventure that you won’t find anywhere else. Nestled deep in the English countryside, just 3 miles from Maldon, North Fambridge and Purleigh, you’ll find us hidden away up a leafy tree-lined, country lane, many miles from the hustle and bustle of towns and cities.
Our natural welcoming environment
As you arrive, listen for the chirping sound of birdsong and the subtle rustle of wind in the trees. Perhaps you’ll be welcomed by our friendly chickens and turkeys, calling to you from their poultry coop. Maybe they’ll lay an egg while you’re here.
Take your time to look closely in our many beautiful open spaces and you’ll find plenty of secret stories waiting to be found. Let your imagination run wild as you chase through the long blades of grass, clamber over earthy mounds and the branches of fallen trees.
We know you’ll love following the changes in nature as the seasons move from Spring to Summer, to Autumn to Winter and round again. Whether it’s sunny, cloudy or raining, windy or completely still and calm, there is always something new to discover.
Inside and outside
Our school building is spacious and modern with big windows letting in natural daylight and there are large patio doors leading to the garden, with its raised-bed for growing many different vegetables and the composting area, which shows the cycle of nature regenerating itself, from fallen leaves to mulch to help new plants thrive and grow.
The garden has been created with the ideas and creativity from the children we have had the honour of knowing over the past ten years. A sensory garden filled with many aromatic herbs and colourful flowers, a sandpit under a willow arbour, a tipi, a mud kitchen and playhouse, plus bikes, cars and trucks are waiting to be played with, new games are waiting to be invented.
There is also the insect house, piles of black rubber tyres and milk crates, odd pieces of wood, bricks and concrete model castles to excite the imagination of young minds. So many children call this ‘home from home’ and play for hours in the garden, coming up with new games, role-playing, inventing new stories and having many new and exciting adventures.
Fields of exploration
As you explore beyond the garden, the grass gets longer, and you’ll find yourself in the open fields. Young trees planted in 2007, when Small Steps opened, are growing taller on the south western side of the fence. Watch as they sprout new leaves every spring and spot the ever-changing colours as the leaves turn amber, russet and brown in the autumn and then fall, spinning through the air, on to the ground as year ends.
Children love the excursions we make across the fields, nature watching and observing seasonal farm work. Simply being outdoors and enjoying the countryside is a breath of fresh air with so many health and educational benefits you simply won’t find elsewhere.
There is always time to stop and reflect. Time to lie in the grass and spot shapes and faces in the ever-changing clouds in the sky. Have you made a grass angel in the summer? Or a snow angel in the winter? Lie on the floor and spread your arms and legs, shuffling the blades of grass with your body to create a celestial body when you stand up and admire your work.
Children relax and thrive in our serene and harmonious environment. While following a curriculum, children become confident in their abilities, testing their skills, choosing their activities and making decisions on what to do next. Our doors open at 9.00am and stay open all day so children can come and go, exploring their surroundings and choosing how to enjoy everything at their fingertips.
We cater for pre-school children aged 2-5 years with term-time care. Small Steps is proud to be Ofsted-registered and has achieved an Outstanding rating for the range of activities and care we provide to our children.