Shining Stars Nursery, located in Wainfleet, Lincolnshire, embarked on a project in June 2022 with the aim of providing enriching educational experiences for children in the area, which has pockets of high deprivation. The project focused on introducing children to various animals, encouraging hands-on learning opportunities, as well as encouraging social engagement among families, all while aligning with the nursery's curriculum. 

Animal Encounters: 

To spark curiosity and excitement among the children, Shining Stars Nursery incorporated animal encounters to support its curriculum. This included observing the fascinating process of caterpillars transforming into butterflies, as well as witnessing the hatching of chicken eggs into adorable chicks. The children actively participated in caring for the chicks, teaching them about responsibility and helping to connect them to the natural world. The chicks were kept for 4 months whilst the children helped look after them, and they were then rehoused within the local community. 

Additionally, the nursery arranged for baby lambs to visit, providing the children with the unique opportunity to interact with and feed the animals, further enhancing their learning experiences.  

Social Engagement: 

In line with the project's objectives, the nursery organised a tea party to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee, marking a significant milestone, as it was the first major event held since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This event was a fantastic opportunity for families to reunite at the nursery, as well as provided a platform to showcase the children's learning experiences with the animals.  

Feedback and Reflections: 

The project's success was reflected in the positive feedback from parents, carers and children. Parents expressed admiration for the nursery's efforts in providing unique experiences, with one parent remarking, "I think I'm more excited than my child." Children shared their enthusiasm for the chicks, expressing love and pride in witnessing their growth and development. One child stated ““I love the chicks so much and they have grown up, we helped them grow”. This feedback underpins the value of hands-on learning experiences in encouraging curiosity, engagement, and a sense of ownership among children. 


This project exemplifies the transformative power of learning through experience in early childhood. By integrating animal encounters and social events into its curriculum, the nursery not only provided children with memorable experiences, but also provided children with a deeper understanding of the natural world and promoted social interaction when discussing their experiences. The nursery has done an amazing job of nurturing the curiosity and potential of every child it serves.