Louise is the owner of Young Friends Nature Nursery in Hove, East Sussex. Young Friends is an eco friendly, award winning, outstanding nursery.
In addition, Louise has founded SNAP (Sustainable Nurseries Against Plastic) where she provides training and consultancy services, advice and support in relation to sustainability and caring for the environment.
“I am passionate about working with all providers who work with babies and children in the Early Years Foundation Stage, and inspiring them to deepen their knowledge, encourage citizenship and provide them with the tools to ensure we and the next generation look after our planet. I have always had an interest in nature and reducing plastic and developed a passion to share my commitment as a mother, nursery owner, educator and citizen.”
Louise moved back to her hometown of Brighton from London when her eldest child was 2 and went straight into childcare.
“I realised I’d found my passion and my father, and I agreed that I would become as qualified as I could and gain lots of experience and then he would invest in a nursery. And it was going to be the best one around. So, I did my NVQ3 and 4 and then Professional Status and worked in and managed various nurseries.
During this time, I dreamt of creating a homely family environment that ensured all children felt so valued, respected and loved and had such great resources to explore that they could blossom to their full potential. I always had the intention of creating a rich learning environment inspired by nature and the outdoors. So, after a short while of childminding I was ready to start Young Friends in 2009. Not only was I determined the children were cared for and educated to a high standard, but that it was a pleasure to work in.”
Louise has achieved the following qualifications:
- BA Hons, History of Art
- Early Years Professional Status
- NVQ 3 and 4
- Cache Level 1
Louise has developed her nursery to provide the environment that she dreamed of.
“We put our name down for an allotment and have a large garden. We have always had animals. This love of nature and animals and seeing the benefits they both have on children has grown and flourished over the twelve years. It gradually morphed into a love for the planet and a realisation that we need to teach the next generation about it, and that we are in the perfect position to do so.
Our nursery continues to develop and our team moves with it. We are now plastic free, have an entirely natural curriculum, we are transforming our allotment into an all singing and dancing organic vegetable ‘farm’ and our garden into an urban woodland. We even have our very own beautiful therapy dog, Landa.
I literally love what I do as do my brilliant team and this shines through the care that Young Friends Nature Nursery provides. I wouldn’t be doing anything else!”
SNAP is a campaign Louise started which is just getting it’s feet off the ground and was born from her passion to change and provide a better world for our children.
“In today’s climate, we have a duty to educate young people, staff and owners from day one, so it becomes a natural responsibility. I was disturbed by the lack of care about the environment in nurseries which are terrible at using single-use plastic: shoe covers, glitter, wet wipes, nappy sacks, disposable nappies, balloons, the list is endless.”
Founded in January 2009, Young Friends Nature Nursery provides professional childcare from the hours of 8.00 am to 6.00 pm and are proud that they have achieved the Ofsted rating of Outstanding in all areas since the outset.
They are based in Hove and most of their families are from this area, although they have many that travel to them for their bespoke services.
They have an entirely natural pedagogy and curriculum and teach their children to be sustainable which can be evidenced by their practices, facilities and activities that are part of our everyday life in the Nursery.
“At Young Friends we pride ourselves on the wealth of experiences we offer to promote high levels of health, well-being and responsible citizenship. Our ethos incorporates four principles: environmental awareness, robust physical and emotional health, social aptitude, and creativity. Children’s days incorporate routines that naturally support their understanding of meeting their own needs, communicating and socializing with others, and being responsible for their immediate environment and the planet.
Our brilliant team are experienced at and dedicated to developing meaningful relationships with every child. They are encouraged to use their individual skills and interests to enrich their working lives and the time the children spend with us. We pride ourselves on providing experiences that children would not necessarily get at home in order to develop and flourish into confident, kind, investigative and well-rounded adults. The atmosphere at Young Friends is warm, comforting, vibrant and genuinely incredibly inspiring.
Independence and confidence is boosted by an array of opportunities that present positive risk and challenge both physically and cognitively. It is scientifically realised that by taking daily positive risks, children start to develop age-appropriate strength, coordination, positive body awareness and the assertiveness and self-confidence they need to participate assuredly in social and other situations. Our setting environments, team and learning methods incorporate age appropriate challenges that ensure all children leave with the bravery they need to succeed, flourish and have fun throughout their lives. This confidence combined with manners and respect is often commented on during visits to Young Friends Nature Nursery.”
Listed below are some of the activities and facilities that are provided:
- Beach cleans
- Trips to their allotment where they grow their own seasonal fruit and vegetables
- They compost with the children and have a pond, bug hotel and bird houses etc.
- They are landscaping their own unique urban woodland
- Therapy dog and other animals to care for
- Children’s Yoga sessions
Here are a few examples of their practices that support the children in learning about their environment and teaching them about sustainability:
- They are plastic free
- They use sustainable resources to create sustainable activities
- They recycle materials for their families
- They use washable cloth nappies
“I have always been very fussy with our staff and our friendly environment means we can be picky. Our ethos is to support our team and appreciate the wonderful work they do, which in turn creates a harmonious, imaginative and inspiring environment for families, children and staff.”
Young Friends Nature Nursery was a finalist for the National Nursery of the Year in the Nursery World Awards 2019
SNAP (Sustainable Nurseries Against Plastic)
This is a nursery community discussion and advice platform for all nurseries to both attain sustainability and educate children through a sustainable curriculum. It has been endorsed by the government and our local council and more. We are frequently contacted by Eco campaigners and other nursery managers and owners seeking advice, blogs etc.
This initiative is valuable because it provides communication and advice to nursery settings. We are collaborating with organisations such as Surfers Against Sewage to educate nurseries and get this vital message out there. Young Friends children are experts beyond their years in biodiversity and sustainability and we strongly believe in order to make a change to the world we need to reach out and educate all Early Years children in order to instill a desire and impart the knowledge to enable them to look after their planet responsibly for future generations.
People are scared by change, so we started to make them one by one and teach the children why we were doing so. SNAP is about helping nurseries wake up to sustainability.
It’s not just about providing statistics and information on the harm we are doing. It’s creating a ground-level discussion for early years professionals on how we can change, improve, identify and share the problems we may face in doing so, and most importantly how we can overcome these together.
Services we provide
- Training for staff teams and professionals
- Consultancy services
- Advice and support through website (under construction) and social media
- Snap Inspiration Days and Tours of the Setting
- Public Speaking
YOUNG FRIENDS NATURE NURSERY: "I love coming to your setting to tutor and assess your apprentices. It’s always such a pleasure to watch the staff interact with the children and see them show a real interest in what the children say and do. The hard work and effort you all put in to make the nursery more eco friendly is inspiring, not only to your children and families, but to other settings too. Such a wonderful nursery."
Laura Wragg. Team NVQ Assessor. Quest.
SNAP: "The climate and environmental crisis is finally rising up the political agenda and it’s inspiring initiatives like the SNAP scheme that show what a difference we can make as communities and as individuals when we put our minds to it. I support the SNAP scheme wholeheartedly – it’s an amazing initiative that is rightly getting the recognition it deserves, and I’ll be doing everything I can to be its champion!"
Peter Kyle MP Labour. Hove Representative.
YOUNG FRIENDS NATURE NURSERY: "When choosing the nursery one of the real clinchers was Louise's sincere belief in getting the kids outdoors and in contact with the natural world through a huge garden, beach cleans, weekly nature plot visits, trips to the farm the parks and even Reggio inspired play indoors."
Laura Pizzolo. Mother.
SNAP: "A fantastic initiative. I’m following to further education from the ground up."
YOUNG FRIENDS NATURE NURSERY: “I’ve never known a nursery to stick to the core values that they believe in so strongly, it is commendable and inspirational”
Matt Gotivator. Parent.
Transforming Eco Values Into Everyday Early Years Practice with SNAP
The Date: Saturday 7th March 2020
The Time: 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
Venue: Young Friends Nature Nursery, 89 Holland Road, Hove. BN3 1JP
Workshop: Leading your Team, Supporting your Families and Managing your Business
Louise will be hosting this inspiring event at her setting, Young Friends Nature Nursery and will also be delivering one of the two workshop sessions.
For more information and to book, please visit the Event page in our Early Years Events and Training Directory.
Louise has recently joined Twitter and started contributing to the #EYMatters #EarlyYears #TwitterChat and co-hosted the following Session:
SNAP – Sustainable Nurseries Against Plastic (January 2020)