A NURSERY school in North Yorkshire has been able to reopen and adapt to new C19 rules by expanding into nearly two acres of meadows near to their premises thanks to the generosity of the Fitzwilliam Malton Estate.

The additional outdoor space at Malton Montessori School and Nursery, which has been loaned by the estate, means the school can reopen and welcome all of its sixty children returning to the school and Nursery throughout the summer.

The historic school, which has been at Uplands House in Malton since 1996 uses real life experiences to bring education to life for ages 2 to 12 years, encouraging each child to reach their potential by discovering passions and purpose.

The new limits on indoor class sizes and Covid19 rules meant, using its current facilities, Malton Montessori could not reopen its doors to all of its pupils. The school’s existing outdoor space although generous was not sufficient to accommodate the 2m social distancing requirement. Head teacher Anja Rutter approached the Fitzwilliam Estate who immediately responded with a loan of two meadows it owns, which are adjacent to the school.

Within days, a tented community of colourful festival tents popped up in the new meadows, each having roll up and vented sides allowing for continuous circulating air flow. The tents act as safe shelters, classrooms, play spaces and sleeping areas for the smallest children. The school has now been outside since the beginning of June and continues to operate throughout the summer months.

Ms Rutter said: “I would like to thank the Fitzwilliam Estate for the support given during this pandemic, this has generated such a great deal of relief amongst the parents who are extremely appreciative of the health benefits and peace of mind this thoughtful gesture affords the children. Given the predicted models for the next flu season we could be here for some time, however we have been supported throughout by parents, the community and the Fitzwilliam Estate with their generous donations of venue, resources, labour and time, proving that central Government is not the only organisation that can move quickly in a pandemic.”

“We have observed that children thrive outside in all weathers, constructing dens, discovering mini beasts and playing hide and seek, forming their own natural small bubbles of friends whilst all the time absorbing vital vitamin D that aids their immune systems. We have built a circular allotment, and open air art studio, and have introduced chickens and rabbits. Since our move outside we have, to date, had no illness of any sort.”

Mark Thompson, Surveyor at Fitzwilliam Malton Estate, said: “We were so pleased to be able to help Malton Montessori School and Nursery. The difference this outdoor space has made to so many families is amazing. Everyone in the community seems to be pulling together and doing all we can to support each other. To be part of this project, and especially to be able to support families where many parents and guardians are keyworkers, is an honour.”