Nurture Outdoor Kindergarten

Frequently Asked Questions

How many applicants do you typically accept?

This varies year to year, but typically we have a small group of new starters each term depending on availability of places. We are registered for up to 20 children per day.

What kind of child does well at NOK

We work hard to build relationships with individual children and their families. We tend to be a good fit for those families practicing, or interested in practicing, respectful parenting, and who want to explore alternative ways of supporting children’s early learning.

Can I bring my child for a visit?

Yes, please do. We encourage parents and children to visit NOK together.

What does it mean to be progressive or RIE inspired?

NOK’s pedagogical approach is deeply connected to the Resources for Infant Educarer’s (RIE) principles, respectful caregiving approaches, and the principles of progressive education. A progressive setting, in our opinion, should promote first-hand experience and challenges which facilitate active problem solving as the key to gaining knowledge and understanding, rather than rote memorisation of adult-given ideas and facts.

Settings that embrace a progressive approach to Early Years education widely share these core beliefs and principles: whole child education (social, emotional, physical and creative as well as academic); integrated and experiential learning; rigor viewed through the lens of meaningful and relevant learning as well as authentic assessment; respect for the child’s voice to nurture intellectual curiosity and internal motivation; and engagement with the broader community to foster a sense of social justice and responsibility.

Tom Little said it best:

“Progressive Education prepares [children] for active participation in a democratic society, in the context of a child-centered environment, and with an enduring commitment to social justice.”

What is 'authentic assessment'?

We assess each child’s unique learning journey each term. We take a whole child view, tracking progress using both the Early Years Foundation Stage and a more holistic perspective informed by our close relationships with each individual child. Our authentic assessment takes account of the child’s voice, parents’ voice and practitioner’s voice, and is discussed with parents at the termly parent meeting. As a small setting with a highly qualified and experienced skillset, we are in a unique position to truly get to know each child through our emergent curriculum and authentic assessment process.

How is behaviour managed?

Through positive modelling, respectful feedback and limit setting, and shared problem-solving, practitioners help children self-regulate and act responsibly. In our approach:

  • Expectations are informed by what is appropriate for the developmental level of the child, and is based on an understanding of how the brain develops. For example, we understand that young children cannot manage their emotions and control their impulses without our support.
  • Practitioners facilitate emotional expression, even when that emotion is hard for us to hear or see.
  • We set predictable, clear limits so that children feel safe and know what is expected of them, and what to expect from us as adults.
  • We provide discipline that supports the development of self-discipline through problem solving and learning from experience, rather than coercion, shame and fear.
  • We model kindness, gentleness and graciousness in our relationships with children, because children don’t do what we tell them to, or what we show them – they reflect who we are.

If, in our judgment, any child’s behaviour places the well-being of other children in jeopardy, we will work with the child and parents to develop a support plan. If required we will consult outside agencies for further support for a family.

Do you help with potty training?

We believe that, as with many aspects of development, children will learn to move from nappies to using the toilet or potty on their own, when they are ready. We prepare children for this by actively involving them in all aspects of their self-care, refraining from imposing an adult-agenda, and trusting that the child will take this step when they are ready.

Toddlers don't need to be trained to use the toilet. When they're ready, they can learn to use the toilet without difficulty. Encouraging, coaxing, or trying to teach your child is unnecessary. Cajoling, bribes, and rewards are unadvisable. All of this can create anxiety and resistance, so instead relax and observe for signs of readiness. Remember that all children eventually learn to use the toilet, and whether your toddler learns sooner rather than later is of little consequence.

Deborah Carlisle Solomon

Do you have funded sessions?

Yes, we offer funded only sessions as well as part day sessions and full day care with funding.

Every child needs nature. Not just the ones with parents who appreciate nature. Not only those of a certain economic class or culture or gender or sexual identity or set of abilities. Every child.

Richard Louv