23rd January 2019 All Posts

Enhancing learning in an indoor environment

Fennies Day Nursery & Preschool in Horley have been crowned the winners of the best Indoor Learning Environment at the 2018 NMT awards in December. Following their amazing win, the team at Fennies told us about what makes their Indoor Environment so outstanding…

Inspired Learning Approaches

The team at Fennies were recognised for adopting a number of different learning approaches.

“We have adopted several learning approaches including ‘Loose Parts’, ‘Communication Friendly Spaces’ and ‘The Curiosity Approach’. Focusing on each concept separately, we created an inspiration board around them and invested in resources to support this learning approach, this enabled us to inspire not only the children but also the practitioners to evolve each idea further and develop the provision.”

With a range of resources that have been specifically chosen, children are allowed endless opportunities for open-ended play and imagination. As the resources at Fennies have grown, the staff have noticed the further progression in the children’s learning journeys.

“It is evident that there is more ‘in the moment’ opportunities with adults on hand to scaffold children’s learning and support interests. We empower each member of staff to share ideas and take on responsibility for sourcing new and exciting resources to further enhance their rooms and the children’s overall learning environment. Staff are able to recognise the improvement in the children’s communication and our cohort shows that children were progressing well.”

The nursery in Horley places great value on staff training and it is through these training opportunities that the team have been able to implement accredited learning approaches. Including loose parts play, Communication Friendly Spaces and The Curiosity Approach.

They were also awarded Outstanding merit by Ofsted this year, with inspectors noting; “Children now experience an even greater range of natural materials and everyday objects as they play. Staff are extremely keen to continue to extend their skills and keep children enthralled in new learning experiences. For example, staff attend an extensive range of training workshops, such as developing children’s language and communication skills and helping boys develop confidence in readiness for school. Staff are seeking even further ideas in supporting school readiness.”

A truly inspirational indoor learning environment

The NMT Judging Panel was impressed not only with the learning environment but with the knowledge and passion of the Fennies team.

 “The finalists from Fennies Day Nursery and Pre-School Horley were able to articulate how they have put their training and passion into practice to provide truly inspirational indoor learning environments.”

Stacey Bailey, Regional Quality Manager at Fennies confirmed;

“We create the opportunity for open-ended play that inspires the children’s imaginations. The staff at Fennies Horley have really embraced ‘in the moment planning’ to ensure they are always seeking new and unique ways to teach the children and contribute to their early learning journey”.

Laura Woods, Nursery Manager of Fennies Day Nursery & Preschool in Horley added;

“We are overjoyed to have won the award for Nursery Indoor Learning Environment.  The whole team has been so committed to providing the very best learning and development opportunities for the children so it was such a wonderful feeling to have this recognised. We are so very proud of our nursery and it cements what has been a brilliant year for the team.”

Well done to the whole Fennies team.

You have clearly created an inspiring environment full of rich resources that encourage and nurture children’s natural curiosities.

For more information on Fennies, Horley, head over to their website


Share this article
About the Author

Connect Childcare have been developing purpose built nursery management software for the past 15 years. Their missions is: To develop management software that improves the lives of children, globally.