Do you want to know a secret?


We are delighted to be launching our new 2 – 3 year old programme this October. We have been digging, planting and building our beautiful little forest fit for any Forest Royal!

Juniors Urban Forest has been derived from Varsity with a ‘hands on’ environmental practice.

We are focusing on children’s play through natural and environmentally friendly influences and resources; where Urban meets Rural bringing old play back into new. Who said you can’t have both!

We were never one for Adult led curriculums (as you already know) so this programme took quite some time in developing to ensure our emergent curriculum incorporated as much Child led opportunities and experience as possible without overwhelming our little ones.

We want to take this chance in reminding children of the wonderful surrounding that they have at their fingertips that they can actively investigate, embrace and learn in, whatever the weather. letting kids be kids and identifying for themselves their skills and abilities from their ideas and findings.

Areas in the forest that have been created from strong interests displayed by the children include The Forest Glade, The Mud Mess, The Tree House, Our Welcome Garden, The Dugga- Dugga, Ranger’s Workshop and much more! From this, these areas support:

Knowledge and Understanding Children develop an interest in the great outdoors and respect for the environment.  We provide opportunities for children to develop a relationship with the natural world and how this can be incorporated at home. This will help in  protecting the environment for generations to come. Whilst creating new perspectives of play and learning on an individual and group level.

Connections with nature is a beautiful thing and through a play  it helps children to grow in  confidence as a result of the freedom, time  and space they are given in their  learning. By allowing the organic flow of children’s ideas and interests with adult support empowers them to demonstrate  independence at each individual  child’s rate.

Communication and Information Retention
The sensory experiences provided by outdoor  connections helps prompt language development.  They’ll hear so many descriptive languages about what they are doing and what things are called and why; allowing their vocabulary to blossom with the experience of different environments. Not only does this improve communication skills but also has a positive  effect  on a  child’s self esteem – a crucial part of their development – and asking LOADS of questions!

Social Skills and Peer Support
Activities such as sharing tools and participating  in play help teach  the children to work together as a group, helping each other out willingly and encouraging them to teach others  which strengthens their bonds  and social interactions- especially when mud is involved 🙂

Investigation, Exploration and Discovery Allowing children to freely access natural resources  provides them with a sense of gratitude for what we have. It allows awareness and understanding that our planet provides us with all we need. Urban Forest brings their imagination to life and how they can use, change, problem solve and create from the resources that are natural and readily available. 

Participation and Concentration
High levels of interest lead to high levels of  attention. Providing unrestricted movement from indoor and outdoor is exciting for a child. The fascination of being able to embark all areas fascinates them which develops a strong will to participate and concentrate on longer play or projects, even when it’s time for home!

If you would like to know more about how to *enrol please feel free to contact us on: 02882257021 or via email:

*Spaces are limited!

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Are You Ready To Ditch The Beef For…

It’s a tough job getting children to eat healthy in our line of work, so our staff sit with the children and eat fruit during snack in order to encourage children to be adventurous in their taste buds. Did you know it takes at least 14 times for a child to try a new food before they begin to get used to it? We do!

What we do is blend down every vegetable we can to get the vital nutrients into the kids without them realising they are actually eating it. This way we do our best to ensure children are getting a variety of Power Foods throughout the day in every meal with a reduced amount of meat (even if it is organic and nitrate free).

With all of our activities and daily living skills introduced to the children the result from them picking fruit, vegetables and herbs fill us with glee. It’s so great to see children reaching for broccoli steams to put on their plates – we referred to as baby trees – and talking about where vegetables come from.

This had encouraged us 2 months ago to ensure that all lunches provided in Juniors will be Vegetarian and Vegan. Not always an easy task but we are doing everything we can to live by our core belief of looking after the well being of every child.

So why can this be difficult?

Teenagers and adults alike are able to make these decisions themselves but children are handed the food that grownups feel they should eat. Over the past 10 years many studies have been carried out on the dietary state of our children in particular  Public Health England reveals that one in ten children aged five is obese where there is the scary reality that by the time they leave primary school, this figure doubles to nearly one in five. A staggering 4.3 million of the UK’s 13 million children are overweight or obese.

With our healthy meal options; not only does this helps each and every individual child but is of great benefit to families and the environment.

 A report released by the World Health Organization warns that processed meats rank alongside cigarettes as a major cause of cancer. Elisa Allen, director of PETA UK, says: “According to the findings, 50g of processed meat a day – the equivalent of one sausage or less than two slices of bacon – increases the chance of developing bowel cancer by 18 per cent.

Eating less meat is likely to help with many areas of your health, and another one of the top benefits is you’ll be looking after your heart. “Eating foods with animal fats in is literally killing us,” says Elisa. “Coronary heart disease, which is linked to a meat-based diet, is the leading cause of death in the UK.”

The good news is that we can help prevent the majority of cardiovascular diseases simply by adopting a plant-based diet.” While diving right in and giving up meat altogether might be daunting at first, one day a week is a good start and could make you feel like you’re heading towards a healthier lifestyle. Meat production is a leading cause of climate change, water depletion, soil erosion and most other environmental problems, according to United Nations scientists. Elisa says: “Forget energy-efficient light bulbs or hybrid cars – the best thing we can do to help the environment is to stop eating animal flesh.”

Eating vegetables and grains directly instead of funnelling them through animals uses far less land and water – and that’s why the UN has said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from the worst effects of climate change. Who are we to argue with them? Of course, you might think one day a week won’t make much difference, but every little helps. More than half the world’s crops are used to feed farmed animals, not people. “That’s a hugely inefficient way to feed the world’s more than 7 billion inhabitants (more than 1 billion of whom currently go hungry),” says Elisa. So, you could do your bit and eat the crops directly, rather than eat the animals – it’s much more sustainable. And you’re bound to feel good about yourself by doing it.

We all try to do as much as we possibly can to reduce our carbon footprint as the impact has increasingly become a grave concern for the future of our beautiful planet. The time is now to educate our children into practices of respecting our environment as much as possible. If you’re an advocate for making a difference to the future generation it all begins with what we do – not what we say we are going to do. In keeping with our Climate Strategies and Waste Management Policy here are a few things the Juniors & The Hangout have begun: 

*Instead of buying lots of new stuff, source eco friendly resources or recycle resources to be reused.  *Turn off all appliances at the plug, nothing should be on standby!

*Wear a jumper when it’s cold or when it is warm or open a window when it is cool instead of using air conditioning: turning off the heating system when the weather is warm. 

*Eat your veggies: live stock such as cows account for some of earth’s heat trapping gas emissions –Methane. Eating more plants cuts down on the need for so much livestock.

*Close the doors: An opened door to an air conditioned building can let 22 tons of carbon dioxide escape over one summer. That’s about as much as a car on a 5,000 mile road trip! Turn off the air con and open the windows. Not closing doors properly also lets out heating that is being used around buildings encouraging people to use more heating.

 *Walk, bike or use public transport as much as you can. The 2017 report indicated the largest sector for emitting greenhouse gases came from transport. Walking or biking just 1 mile a day for a year could save 330 pounds of carbon dioxide – that’s the same as planting four trees and letting then grow for 10 years. 

*Season your fruit: try to eat most in season locally grown fruit and vegetables. This cuts down on the energy used to grow and transport food, which reduces the release of heat trapping gases.

*Ditch the plastic: not only by using reusable fabric bags but even once a week try a plastic free day that everything you use or purchase is plastic free or free from plastic packaging.  *Hang up your clothes instead of using a tumble dryer.

 *Calculate your impact on WWF carbon footprint calculator. If you know your impact you can take steps to reduce it. 

*Switch to reusable nappies and biodegradable wipes. It takes up to 500 years for a nappy to decompose because they are filled with harsh chemicals and plastics! Not only will you reduce the landfill in our areas but you will also save money, no matter how cheap the nappy is it is making a very expensive impact on our children’s future. 

 *Make an allotment even at home: not only will you be able to use your own home grown produce for your meals you will also educate your children that the earth can give back when we look after it. 

*Re-use your old coffee granules as a slug repellent for your crops in your planters- it’s organic and free from nasty chemicals!

 *Plant large patches of flowers that Bee’s love, like wildflowers and native species. Even dandelions are excellent bee plants, providing vital pollen early in the season.  White clover attracts masses of honeybees, while the longer tongued bumblebees prefer Red Clover.

 *Build and insect house in your garden! They are especially good for lacewings and ladybirds. These two species are very important in the garden as lacewing larvae and adult ladybirds and larvae consume insect pests.

*Plant trees:  lots of trees! If you are in a location like ours there are a lot of busy roads, so we plant as many trees as we possibly can to reduce the Carbon dioxide in the air which is being emitted by vehicles.

We would love to hear from how you are doing this at home with your kids; whether that’s a Plastic Free Friday or having a vegetarian day once a week. Please send in your photographs so that we can show everyone how we are working towards a better future for all children!

Pictured: Banana Blossom Burger. From Jill

‘I love hearing about all the different types of food my son gets to try when he’s at Juniors. As a busy working mum it’s really comforting to know that he’s getting good nutritious food into him throughout the day and not the same processed stuff 5 days a week. It’s one less thing I have to worry about and know that his nutrition is taken care of. The variety he gets also makes him more open to trying new foods when we cook them at home or if we are out somewhere. It’s wonderful that the staff send out the menus for the week to us because then it’s easier to plan his tea in the evenings when I know what he’s been given that day. Happy Child = Happy Mummy!’

– Klaraghkaitlyn Mulvey, Varsity Mum

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It’s Spring Already?!

It may have been snowing last week but here it has been nothing but sunshine! Take a look at what the Hangout Kids Committee have planned for Easter. These kids know their stuff when they are planning adventures and activities.

Contact us now via email: or drop us a line on 02882257021 to book your child’s place in The Hangout

Firstly our Varsity programme is FULL! that’s right, our alternative preschool programme is a hit so we would like to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for believing in us. We couldn’t be happier! You guys are the greatest supporters, truly!

As for what we have been getting up to, well, it has been fantastic! the Varsity kids have taken us on a great learning journey where we’ve even met some of our own local heroes, the importance of their roles and discovered new found skills. From investigating every mode of transport with RLNI and the Airfield, to the PSNI, our local traders and health care professionals. It has been amazing to see just how much the children have blossomed – They’ve taught us alot!

Mini j’s & Varsity have been off exploring the Wild Woods at An Creagán. This great programme allows children to explore the fabulous opportunities of play and learning that a lot of children don’t get the chance to.

We have been at The Wild Woods Campfire, Gross Motor Skills Shared Play, Environmental Arts and the beautiful Play Garden!

Coming up in May we have the Bug and Beasties session and then in June we finish with a teddy Bears Picnic.

We have thoroughly enjoyed our experience in working with Peter Brown who is the Biodiversity Education Officer and have learnt so much about incorporating even more natural play into our daily routines. Don’t worry mother Earth our Eco-warriors are in training!

And it’s doesn’t stop there! The Hangout have been in full flow with their main focus: Inclusion and Diversity; demonstrating aspects of Integrity through projects for all the areas in the Day Care. This includes knitting, revamping old resources and creating comforters – all in the next few months. The children raised £200 at Christmas in aid of the Homeless and divided out £100 towards to the Homeless and £100 towards their Farm Set – we have to say they did an awesome job in planning the event, making all of the products and managing the money – Look out Alan Sugar these kids are the future of business!

We promise not leave it as long the next time, but we know you all understand that when there is this array of creativity going on it can be tough to keep up!

See you soon!

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