A CHILDREN’S nursery boasting 1.8 acres of outdoor space and a forest school has opened near York.

Little Peanuts Day Nursery and Forest School in Wheldrake has welcomed its first intake of children and five staff, with 12 more jobs planned as numbers grow.

Owners Garry Stasiulevicuis and his wife Lauren decided to create Little Peanuts when tenants left the Wheldrake premises which they own in April, earlier than planned.

“We were wondering what to do with it in the middle of lockdown,” said York businessman Garry who also successfully launched the StaySafe Kits in lockdown.

“I had always thought about having a nursery as a business so we took the decision mid-lockdown to just do it. We have built something we believe is completely unique to York.”

After six months of preparations and £100,000 investment, the renovated nursery has purpose-built play provision and an on-site forest school with 1.8 acres of rural space to promote learning in a natural setting and encourage a healthy lifestyle.

With six rooms, it caters for children from three months to school age, using the Curiosity Approach at the core of its early years education. This focuses on items that are often recycled genuine objects or from the natural world, giving children authentic resources to play with and let their imagination take the lead.

The nursery name was influenced by the birth of the couple’s son earlier this year. “Lauren had a baby in January and she kept calling him her little peanut - it became the perfect name for us,” said Garry.

Little Peanuts, which has capacity for 48 children, aims to be an eco-sustainable and socially-responsible setting.

Daily actions include using renewable energy suppliers, using food that is locally produced and from sustainable sources where possible, using washable wipes, composting kitchen waste and offering additional recycling for parents as well as their own kerbside collections.

Nursery director, Sarah Hardwell said: “We are really excited to be open for the autumn term with this amazing new nursery. Through sustainability and living the mantra of reuse, reduce and recycle, our goal is to be one of the greenest nurseries in the UK.

“We recognise the importance of educating the children of today to influence the way future generations live and this helps children understand the interdependence between people and the environment.”