Shrewsbury panto dame opens new outdoor pre-school
A panto dame took a break from rehearsals to officially open a new outdoor pre-school in Shrewsbury.
Brad Fitt, star of Shrewsbury's pantomime Mother Goose, joined staff and children at Katie's Kids nursery in Monkmoor to celebrate the completion of its transformed outdoor space.
The natural classroom means children can explore all areas of the curriculum in an outdoor environment – there is even an outdoor kitchen with working clay oven which the children use to cook food they have created.
The nursery was opened in 2014 by Katie Wellington, who runs the setting with business partners Amy Hagemann and Nick Russell.
"The children are encouraged to explore and develop their independence by using tools and equipment, building dens, learning about their natural environment and enjoying stories around the camp fire," said Nick.
"Where possible, we have recycled material and been creative to encourage respect for nature. Rain water now runs from guttering into a funnel that feeds the water wall, is used in the mud kitchen’s sink and also fills the pond for our resident frogs.”
Katie’s Kids Kitchen, a part of the nursery which sees children taking part in weekly cookery classes, is in its fourth year of sponsoring Shrewsbury’s pantomime, and the star of the show jumped at the chance to take part in the opening of the new woodland garden.
To mark the occasion, the children made a giant nest and 70 golden eggs – one for each child – for an egg hunt around the garden, with one lucky egg containing a family pantomime ticket for the opening weekend.
“The pantomime is the beginning of Christmas to me; one of my favourite nights of the year, we are delighted to be supporting the theatre again this year," said Katie.
"It’s wonderful that Brad could come to help us celebrate this new and exciting chapter for the nursery.
"Children will thrive in the outdoor environment and learning through play and nature is fun for everyone can’t wait to wear our wellies to work."