RUSHALL is just weeks away from joining the growing list of places to have its very own outdoor pre-school, giving children the chance to learn in the great outdoors.

Emma Brown, 39, and Dionne Pullen, 33, have raised £20,000 to launch Saplings Forest School, in the heart of Black Knoll Wood, off Pewsey Road,

Some 28 children have already enrolled at the pre-school, for children aged two to five, which is due to open tomorrow (April 24), complete with canvas tents, wooden Wendy Houses, a willow dome, an outdoor kitchen, pulley systems and running drinking water.

After three open days, which were attended by almost 100 families, Mrs Brown and Mrs Pullen, who have nearly 20 years of teaching experience between them, cannot wait to get started.

"We are so excited to get this off the ground and because the feedback we have had has been so great, the sense of anticipation just keeps on building," said Mrs Brown, who along with Mrs Pullen recently completed Forest Leadership level three training.

"We are aiming to reconnect children to nature and establish a love of learning about the natural world from a very early age. We value and nurture the enjoyment of play, because we know during the all-important early years, it is one of the best ways for children to learn.

"If you get children at a young age appreciating the outdoors it can do wonders for them. We can offer them access to a variety of learning experiences, from using saws and knives to lighting fires.

"This has been just over a year in preparation and we could not have done it without the landowner, Nigel Wookie, who has been incredibly supportive. To think we are just weeks away now is so exciting."

This pre-school venture was inspired by Skogsmulle – a Swedish early years philosophy based on the benefits of learning outside.

"Both of us have always understood the importance of outdoor education and these days that is being challenged with the explosion of technology, which is not always a good thing," said Mrs Pullen.

"We had a childcare inspector come down recently and they were blown away by it all."

Mr Wookie, who owns the wood and runs Rushall Organics farm, added: "They approached me and I suggested that they use my wood. I think it is a terrific idea and I wish them the best of luck."

The pre-school will run from 8.30am-3pm, Monday to Friday. For more information visit