Most children love the idea of a secret garden.
And a childcare professional has set one up in Blackpool, to allow children to play and relax with their parents – and be at one with nature.
Ruth Hage will be holding a free open day on Thursday, between 10am and 3pm, at the Secret Garden Fylde Coast Parent And Child Group.
The group will be based at the World Healing Crusade, on Lytham Road, South Shore, next door to the old Arnold School. It will run once a week on a Thursday, during term-time, and guests will be given their first visit for free.
Ruth is inviting families from across the Fylde coast – parents, grandparents, child-minders and other carers are welcome to attend with little ones.
The group will be non-profit and has been inspired by Steiner-Waldorf and Forest School principles, which place emphasis on imaginative play.
Ruth says children in the group are encouraged to play and use the space freely, while adults are encouraged to simply observe.
Ruth has more than 16 years experience working within childcare. She is Ofsted registered and qualified with two degrees.
She said: “The holistic approach provides a soothing, calm and gentle space for the sensitive young child, with an intimate homely setting and safe garden – which offers something quite different from the usual hustle and bustle of a church hall.
“Sessions are child-centered and allow the child time and space to play freely, with open-ended natural materials and hand-made toys, delivering a truly enriching sensory and cognitive experience for the child.
“This approach allows the child to use their imagination to the full.
“Parents are encouraged to slow down, take a step back and simply observe their child in play.
“Parents may join in a craft session to make or mend things for the group during morning free-play. A group activity, such as painting or bread-making may take place.
“There is an opportunity to gather round to share a song, rhyme and action session, which are always based on seasonal themes.
“These will be followed by a short story and simple puppet play.
“A nutritious, organic – where possible, and vegetarian snack is shared together with both children and parents in the group.
“Then it is time to put on our outdoor clothes and wellies, whatever the weather, and out we go to play in the very special secret garden to finish our morning.
“The group will regularly celebrate annual festivals and host events which will be open to our families and friends and sometimes to the public.
“Parents are invited to make the group their own, use their skills, develop new skills, and share with other parents.”
Volunteers will always be needed for the group – anyone who can offer time and skills such as fundraising, toy-making and secretarial assistance.
Set-up items are always needed – such as hand-made simple toys, wool carpet and plain wood chairs and tables.
The open day will include Easter window hangings, song and rhyme, a puppet play, and an Easter egg hunt in the garden.
For information, call or text Ruth on 07736 824779, or search on Facebook for Pride-Joy-Childcare.