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“ Caring as much as you do for your children and always going the extra mile for Early Years Education ”

Blog Post 1 - February 2019

Blog Post 4 - July 2019

Blog Post 2 - March 2019

Blog Post 3 - May 2019

Blog Post 1 – February 2019

Curiosity Approach

  • Written by Lauren Conte

The themes of the standard nursery are changing and more and more settings are moving towards a more natural and welcoming feel, which is now becoming widely known as The Curiosity Approach.

The Theory and inspiration behind The Curiosity Approach

Lyndsey Hellyn and Stephanie Bennet are the co-founders of the Curiosity Approach who have inspired hundreds of settings across the country to adopt this much more calming and child led ethos within Early Years. With a combined experience of 50 years in Teaching, Lyndsey and Stephanie are directors of 6 successful nurseries across the Midlands, all of which have adopted the forward thinking approach they have created. The Curiosity Approach has incorporated the findings and teachings of theorists such as Montessori, Reggio, Steiner and Whariki, creating a passionate and inspiring setting with a home from home feel.


In September 2018, we decided to take a big leap at The Day Nursery by joining the ‘Team Bus’ and taking on The Curiosity Approach accreditation. We knew that this would help us to kick start into a new era of teaching and reinvigorate the nursery, supporting children in a way that encompassed further child lead learning and supported our already used theory of ‘In the moment planning’.  We definitely wanted to get on board with this new and exciting way of teaching and learning, especially as we can get some brilliant first hand advice from the creators of the accreditation, due to our Nursery Owner attending regular business group meetings with them.


Some of you may have heard of the term Hygge, which has taken the Instagram world by storm as a well-used ‘tag’. Hygge is mostly with popular interior design and home living accounts,  Danish for Fun, and a word that when used means cosiness, friendliness, with feelings of Wellness and Contentment. These popular pictures available at our fingertips and have inspired some of the work we have added to our rooms, such as fluffy warm rugs and soft fairy lighting and the homely feel we want to further incorporate as we embark further into our Curiosity Approach Journey.


Loose Parts Play

 At The Day Nursery we have encouraged our parents to bring in things that are known as Loose Parts, although, what is the point of a loose part?


Loose parts have influenced child led play since the 1970’s and were first proposed by architect Simon Nicholson. Nicolson believed that ‘Loose Parts’ in our environment will empower people to be more creative. During play, children can move and play with Loose Part items, which can be used in an endless variety of ways. Children learn to develop fine motor skills, imagination and create what they want with the items provided, as they have no set purpose, other than to be used for creation! WHAT SHALL WE MAKE?!


When you sit back and really think about it, we will fill our homes and nurseries with plastic farms, garages or toy kitchen, to and endless expense. All of which can become stale and boring to play with, as they can only be used for the purpose they are made, the farm, garage or kitchen that we picked up from the shop. Some of these types of closed resources are mostly made from plastic, you might find the odd button to play a sound or noise. These types of toys can become frustrating and repetitive after a while, hearing repeatedly those same irritating push button noises, of a kettle boiling or a typical electrical sounding farm animal. Isn’t it so much more fun to be creative, let’s make a farm together out of boxes, a fence of some wooden pegs and string, filled with our children’s favourite toy animals. Let’s share the experience together, making our own animal noises and having lots of fun, playing and exploring, working together as a team! If and when the direction of play changes we can move things around to make our farm into whatever we next desire, the possibility are endless.


Children who play with loose parts are using more creativity, imagination and developing many more skills and competence than they would playing with most modern plastic toys that we see in the toy shops.


It takes a very open mind on our part as adults (there is often a lot of cleaning up involved as materials end up in places you would never expect them to be) but when children cross play materials and areas in creative ways, it is our responsibility to support and encourage their work and ideas.


Loose Parts should:

• Have no defined use and Early Years Practitioners must support the children when they decide to change the shape or use of them. This is called following a child’s interest.

• Be accessible physically and stored where they can be reached by children without having to ask the Early Years Practitioners. Children should know that they can use them whenever and however they wish.

• Be regularly replenished changed and added to. ‘Loose parts’ theory is about remembering that the best play comes from things that allow children to play in many different ways and on many different levels.

Changing The Day Nursery

 Before Christmas as a whole team we attended an ‘Evening with The Curiosity Approach’ which inspired us all to get cracking with overhauling the nursery in a manageable and effective way. Over the past few months we have been working with our Early Year Practitioners to change the look and feel of their rooms, by ditching most plastic items and bringing in resources that encompass the homely teaching environment we desire to achieve. We have all been getting stuck into websites such as, Freecycle, Gumtree and local Facebook Markets and we will soon be embarking on exploring more local charity shops to further stock our rooms with fascinating items that spark joy and curiosity in our setting.


In our setting we started with a steady decluttering of our rooms, as we have accumulated masses of plastic toys, these have all be recycled to charity shops or we have sold them to help fund our Charity Shop finds! Plastic Toy boxes have been reused and repurposed in new areas within the nursery, toys are now mainly set out readily in the shelving units and are available to play with straight away, they are no longer hidden away.


Take a look at our progress pictures to see how we have changed our rooms to incorporate the Curiosity Apprach, we know it’s going to be a slow and gradual process, but already we are seeing difference in the wellbeing of the children. Already our children are remaining engaged longer at activities that have been readily set out by our experienced and knowledgeable practitioners to play and explore.


We can’t wait to get to work on our 2-4 year old rooms!



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