The cabin was 70% funded by the Local Authority with capital funding achieved from the government to enable nurseries to make more places and extend hours available for 3-4 year olds of working parents. The owners of the estate, NW Glide Fern were able to support the planning application and with leasing additional land to Tops Day Nurseries for the project.
Tops will be settling the existing 3 and 4 year olds at the nursery into the 32 children capacity cabin and also be able to take all the children on the waiting list, as well as allowing the 2 year olds more space in the existing building. The 30 hours funding that was introduced by the government in September 2018 has enabled more parents to increase their working hours which has prompted demand for more nursery hours for the children.
Tops Day Nurseries, the most “sustainable” nursery group in the UK, wanted to ensure that the building is sustainable, and chose TG Escapes to provide a modular eco classroom building to accommodate the extra 32 children at Lakeside, bringing the total to 93 children at any one time in the 2 buildings. The TG Escape approach is to encourage environmental citizenship, outdoor learning and educational play, helping connect the children with nature with their “biophilic design principles”; maximising natural light and providing views of nature and easy access to the outdoors, an approach we felt matched the Tops ethos and purpose.
The building incorporates a timber frame which has the lowest carbon footprint of any commercially available structural building, and exceeds the thermal efficiency standards new houses must achieve. It has red cedar timber cladding (FSC and PEFC certified sustainable) which will fade naturally and without chemicals to match the existing building; 80% recycled insulation, double glazed, low emissivity glass, pre-insulated flooring with 80% recycled mineral wool, air source heat pump and LED lighting. TG Escapes also offset their activities and CO2 emissions with “ClimateCare”.
Diane Wycherley, Area Manager for Tops Day Nurseries, has project managed the new cabin supported by company lawyer Micah Faure, and has equipped the building ready for the children, with a focus on buying and acquiring sustainable resources. For example she has used crates, fruit boxes and old trunks for display and storage; charity shop tea service, little silver jugs and dressing up items, “magical chest” sorter (a charity shop sewing box that concertinas open), flower press, wormery, and many tubes, boxes and papers recycled from the scrap store to provide open ended learning resources for the children (far better educationally and for the planet than plastic one-purpose items). The company has installed hand dryers rather than paper towels in the toilets, and energy is sourced from a renewable energy supplier. Diane and colleagues at the nursery will continue to seek out fascinating resources to attract every individual child! She has purchased new top quality resources too, designed to last for decades, such as the wooden construction sets, maths and science resources such as magnifying glasses and magnets, and of course all the solid wood chairs and tables. Many beautiful books have been bought to enrich the learning activities and all together, in this calm and natural environment, our professional early years educators will make the most of the crucial early years for learning and enabling the children to become enthusiastic, confident learners and respectful, responsible and resilient citizens.
Cheryl Hadland, founder and CEO of Tops Day Nurseries says “I’m absolutely delighted to see this new building open for children, I believe it will support our early years educators with our purpose of working with parents to teach their children to be the best they can be, to respect and care for their world, and to enjoy the whole experience. We are open for new children and staff, all of whom can attend and work flexible hours to suit their families, subject to capacity of course. Come and have a look for yourselves, we have an open door policy”