£1.7m open-air nursery with mini farm and Michelin star-trained chef opening in Nottinghamshire village

This post first appeared on Nottingham Post. Read the original article.

A new outdoor nursery boasting a mini farm and a Michelin-trained chef nursery is opening in a Nottinghamshire village.

At the Small People Nursery, on Colston Road in Cropwell Bishop, children aged from six weeks to five years will spend almost all of their time in the nursery’s acre of land rather than in a classroom, come wind, rain or shine.

As well as learning English, maths and languages they will also grow their own vegetables and learn how to cook healthy meals, look after farm animals and make art with natural materials.

The business in a former pub is the culmination of more than a year’s work and a £1.7m investment by mum-of-two Lisa Smal.

Small People Nursery Cropwell Bishop gets ready to open its doors

Small People Nursery Cropwell Bishop gets ready to open its doors

The 42-year-old Bottesford resident, originally of South Africa, left her “high-powered” recruitment job 18 months ago to set up what she claims is the first nursery of its kind in the county.

She added: “When I was younger the child care available to me was awful. I want to create the environment I would have liked my kids to have had.

“It is proven that children develop faster in an outdoor environment.

Small People Nursery Cropwell Bishop gets ready to open its doors

Small People Nursery Cropwell Bishop gets ready to open its doors

“If the weather is bad we will provide outdoor wear. Obviously if it’s minus 20 I am not going to send them out but I think we protect children from the outdoors too much nowadays.

“When I was growing up in South Africa my life was more outdoors. This is not reinventing the wheel, I have just taken learning outside and the benefits of that outweigh the lack of heat.”

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The nursery will be able to hold up to 60 children although it is waiting Ofsted approval it is ready to open with nine staff which Mrs Smal hopes will rise to 20 if they fill up.

Small People Nursery Cropwell Bishop gets ready to open its doors

Small People Nursery Cropwell Bishop gets ready to open its doors

It has a number of different areas including a construction role play area with building blocks and costumes, a jungle gym with a climbing wall and a large field for the children to run in.

The farm has two goats, three chickens, two pigs, two guinea pigs and one rabbit which the children will feed and pet – although they will not have to muck them out.

All the while they will learn numeracy and literacy, IT skills such as coding and there will be staff on hand speaking Mandarin, French and Spanish as they play so the children can start to pick them up.

The nursery will be open from 7am to 7pm on weekdays with a day of care costing £58.

Small People Nursery Cropwell Bishop gets ready to open its doors

Small People Nursery Cropwell Bishop gets ready to open its doors

Conservative councillor Gordon Moore, who represents the Cropwell ward at Rushcliffe Borough Council, said: “The building used to be the Lime Kiln, which was one of my regulars before it shut.

“I am very happy that the building is now being used and not just another empty closed down pub, and I wish them the best of luck.”

Mrs Smal is also looking for organisations who help disabled or disadvantaged children to get in touch about collaborating.

Small People Nursery Cropwell Bishop gets ready to open its doors

Small People Nursery Cropwell Bishop gets ready to open its doors

She is already working on opening new sites across the East Midlands and ultimately the country.

The nursery is holding open evenings from 6pm to 8pm for the next three weeks for parents to have a look around.