Join the Weetabix revolution, advocates for CHANGE.
At The Curiosity Approach, we are bravely raising our heads above the parapet to bring a forward-thinking approach to Early Years. Moving away from the traditional style of brightly coloured ‘plastic-fantastic nurseries.’ Nurseries with brightly coloured walls, furniture and manufactured plastic toys. Resources, all designed with a specific purpose in mind!
Our approach sometimes comes under flack for being beige or bland. The misconception that our environments have no colour. That colour is not appreciated or allowed within Curiosity Approach settings. That by offering neutral tones we are stripping the love of colour from children’s lives.
This misconception is far removed from the truth. One we want to clear up and explain!
Having recently being compared to ‘Weetabix‘ I wanted to say that this is a huge compliment. Not the detrimental comment it was meant to be!!
The Weetabix company itself quotes. “Weetabix really is incredible on the inside.”
How amazing is this to be compared to such a prestigious company. One that has been supplying breakfast cereal to children and families since 1934.
Weetabix takes their responsibilities seriously. “It’s why we minimise waste, promote socially responsible activities and provide great nutrition.”
Part of The Curiosity Approach’s pedagogy is about providing beautiful environments in which children feel safe and secure, though thoughtful and purposeful designs which provide
“An extension of home and not a watered down version of school.” ©
Teaching children through heart, hands, and head. Just like Weetbix, we are two companies who believe that through wholesome ingredients our children will be nourished to reach their full potential in life.
As many will be aware, overstimulation has a detrimental impact on children’s, concentration, well being and mental health. The visual and sensory pollution of excessive colour and noise can overwhelm and unsettle our smallest of infants.
Overstimulation happens when a child is swamped with more experiences, sensations, noise, colour, and activity than they can cope with.
In the first five years of life, a child’s brain develops faster than at any other time in their life. The child’s early experiences, the things they see, hear, touch, smell, and taste, stimulate their brain, creating millions of connections.
However, this doesn’t mean that our environments need to be a barrage of bright primary colours, senses, smells and textures. Babies and young children also need quiet time in a predictable and familiar setting. They need a sense of calm and tranquillity, where they can feel secure and able to explore without the overstimulation and chaos of excessive visual noise.
Our blog about what does it feel like for a child in your setting, helps educators reflect on overstimulation from artificial lighting and a paint pot colour explosive decor. How it actually feels to be a child in a busy and over-stimulating environment.
Visual comfort in your nursery or setting goes much further than simply being in an environment that is pleasing to the eye. Our visual surroundings have a profound effect on the way we think, feel and act, both consciously and subconsciously. The colours around us influence our mood and our health.
Taking Ingredients from many of the great pioneers we love the idea that Maria Montessori discovered the true inner workings of the child’s mind. Through her lifelong observations of children, she uncovered ten secrets to The absorbent mind
Ten secrets are based on her lifetime of observing children and recognizing what they really need to thrive.
“The child has a different relation to his environment from ours… the child absorbs it. The things he sees are not just remembered; they form part of his soul. He incarnates in himself all in the world about him that his eyes see and his ears hear.” – Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind.
At Curiosity Approach settings we feel the calm, neutral tones, enhance our environment. Allowing mindful educators to bring in thoughtful and purposeful pockets of colour. Allowing children to appreciate colour and nature in all its glory.
The Curiosity approach is about celebrating colour and the joy this brings to our lives, we do this by observing and exploring nature’s palette and not the synonyms of primary colours typically used to decorate Early childhood provisions.
Just like Weetabix, we feel it’s about the wholesome ingredients that prove beneficial for developing a strong, healthy child.
Plastic artificial manufactured resources. Leave no room for imagination, curiosity awe and wonder. They all blend in together!
The more a toy does, the less a child does!
Yes, Weetabix at first glance may seem beige, neutral and stripped of all colour. However, surely this is much better than being a marketing ploy to appeal to the young influential minds. Packed full of added colourings, preservatives and sugar – all renowned for overstimulation and affecting children’s mood and well being.
Curiosity Approach provisions strive to create beautiful inspirational play spaces for children, to feed their curiosity, creativity and to spark awe and wonder. Fuelling their imaginations with delicious provocations and invitations to learning. Bringing elements and accents of colour in through nature and natural resources.
We wholeheartedly agree that colour has a positive impact on mood and happiness, however, this cannot be at the detriment to mental health, well being and education of our infants and children. It cannot be used without thought or understanding for the consequence on our youngest of children’s minds.
Neil Dudman the owner of five Day nurseries in the south of England. Pirbright, Pear Tree Pebbles, Pine Cones and Stepping Stones. Recently transformed his nurseries from bright, primary coloured nurseries to that of The Curiosity Approach pedagogy. After long discussions with Lyndsey Hellyn and myself. Together with much persuasion from his forward-thinking Area Manager, Emily Suttling. Neil brought his staff to view one of our ‘neutral look nurseries. Touring the setting and seeing the environment first hand. Neil will admit he suddenly had an epiphany. This totally transformed his way of thinking and the way in which he delivered Early years across all of his sites.
Asking Neil what changes he has seen most –
Neil says, ” The transformation of my nurseries from bright primary colours to that of a calm and neutral has had an enormous impact on the children. Initially, I criticised the changes, thinking this would make my nurseries bland and boring!
However my amazing area manager Emily Suttling convinced me and we began the journey. I loved my crazy yellow walls, red paintwork and blue flooring. I also couldn’t see any problem with the bright plastic toys the children seemed to enjoy. After talking to Lyndsey and Stephanie, the penny finally dropped and I was willing to give it a go.
Over the past year, my nurseries have all undergone a huge transformation and the results have been astounding. The children are more engaged and focused. The rooms are calmer quieter. children spend longer on activities, instead of flitting from one activity to another. The staff are also less stressed, everyone seems to have benefited from the changes and the parents love it too.
Emily Suttling added –
“We have also seen a huge change in our SEN children. They have become calmer and more engaged. We had a certain child who loved to tip and throw all our plastic toys. Since changing he is taking more care and even uses our ceramics well. He has stopped tipping and has begun to sit and play with intense engagement. It’s actually been fascinating to watch. “
Pear Tree Day nursery in Farnborough looks very different now. Beautiful inspirational play spaces for children
Let’s bring colour into our settings though nature, fresh flowers with every spectrum of the earth rainbow. Allow our children to see the beautiful array of colours in nature.
Let’s move away from the artificial flowers, replacing the vases with floral bouquets of freshly cut flowers that entice and tickle the senses (not overwhelm and pollute.)
We need to be teaching children to observe nature in all its beauty. Stripped away from colourings additives and dyes in manufactured resources and toys. Walls adorned with cartoon murals, architraves and skirting boards of bright primary coloured paint.
Our WORLD is sadly becoming false, fake and pretend. Our children are becoming detached from nature. Detached from LIFE.
They are becoming ever increasingly detached from play. Knowing how to play. How to interact and engage. How to use their imaginations and to use their brains to solve problems and work things out for themselves.
DETACHED FROM NATURE AND THE LOVE OF OUR BEAUTIFUL PLANET
It is our job and our responsibility to give our young children the best start possible, to allow them to grow up cradled in an environment of beauty and calm tranquillity. A place their minds have the freedom to expand develop and grow. Not hindered by outside overstimulation, fighting to compete FOR mental peace and INNER CALM!
Let’s support a revolution to love Weetabix, feeding the heart, feeding the mind.
Which will you choose?
For further information on how The Curiosity Approach supports educators. Bringing a sense of calm tranquillity through open-ended materials, authentic resources and recycled materials. Please see our website and our Curiosity Approach Accreditation
Our book The A-Z of The Curiosity Approach, brings elements of Zen to Early Years and the need for mindful calm in our busy fast paced lives.
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©The Curiosity Approach 2018
This article was written by Stephanie Bennett, One of the Co-founders of The Curiosity Approach, alongside Lyndsey Hellyn. We're more than just another consultancy company, together we want to impact on early years. To make a change to the educational system. To inspire practitioners to bring back curiosity, awe and wonder to childhood and to the lives of educators.
Curious is our monthly publication that focuses on one inspirational ingredient of The Curiosity Approach each month. It opens out into a quality A2 poster, which can be displayed in your provision to excite and inform your team and/or families. We use beautiful imagery from our own settings, to help spark the visual learners amongst us, along with hints and tips on how to bring this aspect to your setting to create exquisite yet practical environments that feed our children's hearts and souls.
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