Learning to flourish

Our mission is to help children to flourish. By this we mean: to learn with purpose, live with optimism and act with kindness, wholeheartedly engaged in the world outside.

Making and Growing at Highfield Oval

We work in the beautiful Highfield Oval in Harpenden. In partnership with YWAM Harpenden, the site’s owners, we have created an eco garden in the orchard and offer creative opportunities for children and community to enjoy nature. Children and their foster carers from across Hertfordshire join us regularly to take part in woodland adventures and nature-based craft activities. We provide local care homes with all the resources they need to be creative with nature, such as growing and using plant dyes and flower drying and arranging. Our schools programme helps local children to engage with the history of the site, a former children’s home with a culture of outdoor learning. Our work is made possible by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Exciting news!

We work with joy in the beautiful Highfield Oval in Harpenden. In partnership with YWAM Harpenden, the site’s owners, we have created a community eco garden in the site’s historic orchard. We offer many opportunities for children and the wider community to engage creatively with nature for the benefit of their wellbeing. A group of children in foster care and their carers from across Hertfordshire join us regularly to take part in woodland adventures and nature-based craft activities. We provide local care homes with all the resources they need to enjoy nature in creative ways, such as growing and using plant dyes and flower drying and arranging. Our schools programme helps local children to engage with the social history of the site, a former children’s home with a culture of outdoor learning, and its natural heritage. Since 2020 our work has been funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

School programmes

The Nature of Home is a free programme of resources for primary schools, supporting history and PSHE. The programme explores the history of the children’s home at Highfield Oval, and the meaning of home and belonging for everyone.

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Community

Everyone can get involved in Making and Growing at Highfield Oval, whether helping to recreate the former kitchen gardens, learning new crafts and eco-gardening skills or sharing and gathering memories of life at the children’s home.

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Family

There are lots of opportunities for families to get Making and Growing, both at home and in the beautiful surroundings of Highfield Oval.

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Curriculum design

Wholehearted Childhood provides training and support to help schools design values-based curricula, energised with big ideas, mind-friendly learning, rich experiences, and real world purpose.

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School programme
The Nature of Home is a programme of resources for key stage 2 history and PSHE. The programme explores the history of the children’s home, which opened in 1913, and the meaning of home and belonging for us all.

Read more
wheelbarrow

Community
Everyone can get involved in Making and Growing at Highfield Oval, whether helping to recreate the former kitchen gardens, learning new crafts and eco-gardening skills or sharing and gathering memories of life at the children’s home.

Read more

Family
There are lots of opportunities for families to get Making and Growing, both at home and in the beautiful surroundings of Highfield Oval.

Read more
strawberry-square

Curriculum design
Wholehearted Childhood provides training and support to help schools design values-based curricula, energised with big ideas, mind-friendly learning, rich experiences, and real world purpose.

Read more

The story of Highfield Oval

Highfield Oval and the nearby children’s sanatorium in Harpenden represent a significant chapter in the history of children’s care. Founded in 1913 in the belief that children thrive in an abundance of sunshine and fresh air, the Oval contained orchards, fields and bluebell woods and once ran its own farm. Outdoor learning was at the heart of life, especially at the Sanatorium, which had open-air classrooms. Children were taught many crafts and skills, including growing food, printing and making furniture and clothes.