Nursery farm wins award for teaching 'importance of nature'

Nursery award

Top award for Meadow Lane Children's Nursery. - Credit: Meadow Lane

A farm nursery in St Ives that has cows, pigs, chickens – and even a dome inspired by the Eden Project - has won a national award for teaching children the importance of nature. 

Meadow Lane Children’s Nursery won the Enabling Environments award at the Nursery World Awards 2020. 

They also were highly commended for the Nursery of the Year 2020 award and were finalists in another of the 25 categories, Nursery Manager of the Year. 

Nursery award

Top award for Meadow Lane Children's Nursery. - Credit: Meadow Lane

The family-run business that opened four years ago is based on a farm where staff and children get to experience and share their true passion for nature. 

Staff and the children look after pigs, goats, rabbits, chickens, goats and have a dedicated area where they grow and harvest vegetables. 

Sophia Covill, owner and manager who was a finalist in the manager category, said: “I am over the moon for these awards, and still can’t quite believe it.  

Corn grown at the nursery

Yummy homegrown corn is on the menu at the nursery. - Credit: Meadow Lane

“In February 2020 we got an outstanding rating from Ofsted and now this award and commendation.  

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“They recognise the hard work my staff put in every day to show our children the importance of nature in our world and their lives.  

“We hope the passion for the natural world stays with our children throughout their lives and makes a small difference for the future of everyone.” 

The mission of Meadow Lane Children's Nursery is to inspire children to understand the importance of nature and what it means for the future of the planet.  

This nursery, which has 30 staff, follows the Reggio Emilia Approach, an educational philosophy that allows children’s learning to develop individually at their own pace.  

Goats being milked

Goats are milked by Sophia at the nursery. - Credit: Meadow Lane

Recently they built a geodesic dome in their forest school - inspired by the Eden Project.  

The dome is an indoor and outdoor learning centre to enable the children to research nature. 

They can enjoy pond dipping and then head to the dome to discover what they found using the microscope - there is also a telescope for them to look at the stars, planets and the moon.  

Last year the nursery even introduced a beehive with two trained beekeepers among their staff.