Early Years

How our Early Years environment is changing

Considering the environment as the third teacher and play being an important part of learning have influenced the new designs. We want our early years learning environments to be:

  • Nurturing environments which are homely, inviting and calming
  • Flexible environments which use natural resources to promote open ended play
  • Exciting environments which offer opportunities for exploration, free play and continuous access to the outdoors

We are pleased to announce we were a finalist in the 2018 Society of British and International Design Awards with our City of Edinburgh Council Early Years Interior Design Developments!


The new learning environment designs have been informed by many documents and theories. One of the theories that shapes the appearance of the learning spaces is biophilic design. This refers to the innate relationship between humans and nature and our preference for a natural environment over an artificial one. In our nurseries we are using a palette of natural colours and materials to allow the people within the space to feel more connected with nature. We want to integrate some of the main principles of biophilic design into our plans to ensure we provide the very best learning environments.

  • Children using the outdoor space at Corstorphine Primary School Nursery
  • A comfy reading corner at Corstorphine Primary School Nursery
  • Numbers at Corstorphine Primary School Nursery

We also use these design elements when we are planning nurseries:

  • we want to make the learning spaces flexible
  • we use rugs to create cosy spaces
  • we add hatches into kitchens
  • we like sliding doors that allow children to move freely between the inside and outside play areas
  • we want lots of natural light from the windows
  • we like windows that are at the ground level so children can see outside
  • we like using wood, wicker, branches and fairy lights
  • we use low interactive screens so the children can use them at their height
  • we want to create lots of opportunities for natural and loose parts play
  • we like multi-purpose spaces for parents/carers and staff

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