Being a child used to be about getting messy, playing in sandboxes and pushing your sibling around in a cardboard box. And the nursery hopes to bring some of that back into the children's nursery days.
During a time when kids can't get enough of their complicated toys and bizarre video games, one particular nursery school decided to change things up and take all the children's shiny, fancy playthings away. Instead, they filled the nursery with all the wonderful and creative things that makes childhood extra special.
The Ilminster Avenue Nursery School in Bristol has 230 children aged between two and four, according to the Daily Mail. The toddlers got to experience a "back to basics" take in a time when electronic devices seem to dominate childhood.
Instead of the typical plastic toys and conventional games, the nursery is filled with everyday items like egg boxes, pine cones, bottle tops, pots, and corks. And this has given the teachers a chance to really see what a child is like, how their curiosity drives them and allow their imagination to run wild and free. "It is all about getting back to basics and proving you don't need lots of shiny, expensive, electronic, plastic things to have fun and be a child," said Matt.
The idea was initialized by Matt Caldwell, who boldly took the step of running with this idea for a month. He had conversations with the staff and the parents before implementing this at the nursery, and now, looking at how the kids are enjoying it, the nursery is all set to make this a permanent thing. They have also thrown their doors open to kids with special needs, providing education and support with classes up to the age of seven.
Matt talked about the change and said, "some of the kids were asking for their toys back." But there were kids who loved the change from the very beginning. "The others haven't missed it as much as the staff thought they would," he said.
Being a child used to be about getting messy, playing in sandboxes and pushing your sibling around in a cardboard box. And the nursery hopes to bring some of that back into the children's nursery days. "I don't think you can beat a good old cardboard box," Matt said, knowing that it had become one of the kids' new favorite toys.
What Matt had in mind was not to deprive the children, but strip them of things that held them back from thinking. And it's made a huge difference to the children's development. The staff has also noticed how more children spent time outdoors, including the ones who used to shy away from going out.
The change has allowed kids to be more creative with the things around them and has broken down barriers to allow them to interact with each other better. One father even told BBC, "A box becomes a spaceship, a stick becomes a wand, they become a wizard."
"People have noticed more communication between children, more socialising, more creativity," said Matt. "When you strip away everything you see what children's imagination genuinely looks like."
The little ones get to do all sorts of things. They can pretend like their cooking outdoors on a makebelieve bonfire, turn into scientists and watch bath bombs dissolve into water, hold the back of a computer in their own hands to understand how it works, and even make their own music by turning tins into drums.
Most kids today spend hours in front of a screen, spend most of their time indoors and often play with manufactured toys that limit their creativity. But this nursery gives the kids ample amount of time to explore what's around them; they pick up sticks and leaves and turn them into something else, while the staff helps them feed their curiosity in different ways. It's become a place for them that takes them away from the overwhelming, buzzing and noisy world and gives them a haven to learn and discover more.