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Teach Spraoi Nature Kindergarten has received planning permission which has allowed the facility to cater for up to 20 children, revising original plans that permitted a maximum of 10.

Changes to the Toonagh facility are only relating to documentation rather than structure. Located on a site of over an acre, the preschool is surrounded by a wooded area, where children spend most of the day planting, gardening and learning about the animals.

A gradual increase in numbers attending the pre-school have been experienced in recent years with children turned away as maximum capacity had been reached.

Crèche owner Nora Custy told The Clare Echo that they are very fortunate with their surroundings. “We are blessed to have a wild natural space here. Parents want that space between students, particularly since the start of the pandemic. It has been a challenging year here but all four of our staff members are keeping a positive outlook”.

Established ten years ago, Nora likened most facilities at the time to prisons, and has been adamant about keeping a small student to teacher ratio.

“Small children need that one to one. We never aim to pack them high here. You just can’t do that to children. Putting anyone, whether young or old into big institutional settings just doesn’t work. You have to think outside the box.”

Having reopened on January 4th, Teach Spraoi is mainly catering for children with special needs and those of essential workers. A WhatsApp group has been setup to incorporate other children that are at home with parents due to a recent surge in Covid-19 cases since the festive season.

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