During my three years of studying at ARU, I have been fortunate to have been on educational field trips, my latest one being to Community Playthings in East Sussex.
Community Playthings have hubs in several countries and are a company known for producing quality furniture for Early Years settings and schools. Their products vary from furniture to toys and are innovative and durable. The company also has a hub of educational references and resources, and some of which I have used in throughout my assignments to create an accurate representation of Early Years values.
Community Playthings are also known for their community beliefs and lifestyle. There is a community behind the playthings that are made, with workers practising the Bruderhof religion and living their lives according to the values of Jesus. The workers all live together on the outskirts of East Sussex, sharing their work and earnings, like the earliest Christians did.
We were welcomed into the community and shown around the historic grounds, learning about the history of the place that once used to be the infirmary for those with Tuberculosis. It has since been transformed into a wholesome village, that has factories, living quarters, communal spaces for eating and even a school and nursery.
There was a showroom, which we were taken to first that showed how the furniture is used to transform practice and we listened to engaging talks about the sustainability of the products. We were even shown examples of toys that are still being used in practice, built in the 1940s.
A tour of the factory was next, and it was explained how the furniture is constructed by the workers. The factory was enormous, with an underground section filled with tools and equipment, used to make the finest furniture.
It was so interesting to see behind the scenes of how the playthings are made and learning about how much thought process goes into making each product, definitely makes the company unique.
The day ended with a tour of the grounds as we were told more about the Bruderhof community values and how the village operates from day to day. The village is located in an area of outstanding natural beauty and has traditional landmarks, such as the old school bell, which is rung once a day to mark the end of school.
It was a fascinating day and put a lot into perspective about the company and how the workers live to form a community.
I was able to vlog moments from the trip which you can watch here.
Mitzi Harris is a 2nd year Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons) student and HEMS Digital Ambassador. Find out more about Early Childhood Studies, and other degree courses, at one of our Open Days.