The Forest School Team at Watermead Day Nursery
  • The Award for Early Years Team of the Year, (sponsored by the Department for Education)
  • The Forest School Team at Watermead Day Nursery
  • Loughborough, Leicestershire

Josie Ellard is the Forest School Leader with over five years’ experience working alongside Early Years and Forest School Practitioners at this nursery. She specialises in tool work, willow den building and foraging for edible cooking ingredients to compliment the meals prepared in the woods for the children. She is responsible for leading, supporting and developing her team of staff, she shares her and tireless energy to ensure the children get the very best outdoor experiences.

Ayla Platts is a Forest School Practitioner with four years’ experience at the school. She specialises in outdoor physical activities and is an expert in risky play. Her boundless enthusiasm inspires the children in their outdoor pursuits as they engage with her on exciting adventures. Ayla specialises in campfire cooking and creates tasty meals and snacks for the children to enjoy.

Kim Lowen is a Forest School Practitioner and is the most recent team member to join the team just 10 months ago. She has over 11 years’ experience in the early years sector and has quickly established her place and proven to be a keen amateur gardener, planning the ‘Edible Garden’ a large planting area where the children can plant, grow, and eat their fruit and vegetable produce.

Mel Riley is a Forest School Practitioner with 12 years’ Early Years experience in the UK and 10 years’ experience in South. She joined Watermead four years ago. She is a keen environmentalist who gently nurtures the children’s understanding of their natural environment introducing topics on sustainability, global warming, and re-wilding. Mel provides 1-to-1 support for childrenwith additional needs and who may need just that bit of extra support to maximise their experience of the great outdoors.