The story of a project which brought families and young children together in nursery schools in Cornwall.

Loading map...
Back to case studies

Two maintained nursery schools in Cornwall were awarded a Froebel Trust practice development and research grant to re-engage parents, carers and local families in play following national lockdowns.

"We wanted to undertake a project to address the inequalities we had identified in our communities as a result of the pandemic." Helen Adams and Emma Short, Headteachers

The staff at Camborne Nursery School and Truro Nursery School ran a series of family workshops in the schools and used Froebelian principles to develop parents’ and carers' confidence; sharing with the families ways to support their child’s play and learning at home.


Time to observe - spending time creating together at the nursery school. "Very much enjoyed watching my child. I have learnt so much about what they like to do." Parent/carer

Building connections with nature - involving families with growing and gardening projects. "...soon as we got home today, we were straight outside and looking at all the leaves and flowers..." Parent/carer

Unity - valuing and nurturing connections between families, friends, local community and educators.

Play and creativity are integral to child development and learning - making time for families to play together at the nursery school.

Relationships matter - parents, carers, family and wider community feel valued in the nursery school.

Connections - young children learn in a holistic way. "We loved taking part in all the sessions and we have enjoyed having a go at activities at home too." Parent/ carer

Bringing the whole family into the nursery school - learning begins at birth and continues throughout life.


A Froebelian approach recognises that relationships are of central importance in a child's life.

"The parents clearly had confidence working with their children but have enjoyed understanding why and how types of play are benefiting their children." Teacher

A total of 74 local families took part in the workshops at the two schools. Families reported a stronger sense of connectedness in their relationships with their children and valued the bank of resources shared with them, to support their home learning environment. For example, 91% of families commented that the workshops had encouraged them to play with blocks at home.

Both nursery schools plan to continue running open sessions for parents and families to come and be with their young children in the nursery school - with a Froebelian focus on the activities being shared.

Meet the project leaders

Headteachers Helen Adams & Emma Short shared their experience of running this project at the Froebel Trust 2023 Conference.

Watch now