Our children exist within many environments and each setting provides vital elements that contribute to the building of their interests and character. At EMAS we believe that daily contact with nature both indoors and out gives children the chance to use their senses in dynamic work and play experiences to the full.
Situated on the back of Blackford Hill and the Hermitage of Braid Nature Reserve we are ideally placed to access these Edinburgh green spaces, just a stone’s throw from our classrooms.
Time outdoors is precious and we aim to get outside no matter what the weather. Children have time each day for explorative, imaginative, energetic play where adult intervention is kept to a minimum. This time offers a real chance to practice social skills and strategies, build their own worlds and consolidate much of their academic learning. Props are developed by the children from the natural surroundings: trees become shelters and pathways are carved in the long summer grasses. Buildings, shops, hospitals and bases are imagined and brought to life through childhood enchantment and complete freedom to dream. Play is directed by the children and games, stories, backdrops and plots grow over weeks and months of visiting and revisiting the same natural spaces.
On the practical side this outdoor experience gives our children thorough practice in honing their own judgment and skills of risk assessment. Negotiation, collaboration, social cohesion and the spirit of adventure are all strengthened.
Our Discovery Garden is a place for science and imagination…
Outside our Infant and Children’s House Classrooms our garden has been developed in collaboration with the children, teachers and parents. It is always a work in progress as it grows and changes with each season and each class group.
A plethora of natural sensory experiences greets the children. From sand pits, planting beds, digging beds and flower beds, to intimate shelters and spaces for quiet contemplation, each little one is encouraged to explore at his/her own pace and can begin to develop confidence in moving, looking, seeing and doing.