Dunblane Nature Kindergarten inspires education experts from around the world
A Dunblane nursery is attracting international attention for its successful approach to outdoor education for the under 5s.
The Dunblane Nature Kindergarten, part of the award-winning Bertram Nursery Group, is to host visits from education specialists from Iceland, Lithuania and Australia over the next six months, while its manager, Steven White, has been invited to America in July to help establish a nature kindergarten movement at The Childplay Institute in California.
Steven, who was recently invited to Norway to discuss the benefits of outdoor education, will also be speaking at a number of international conferences and assist with training visiting delegates on how to use outdoor opportunities to observe and build upon a child’s natural learning patterns.
The success of the Dunblane Nature Kindergarten, which has spread via the nursery’s facebook page and by word of mouth, is based on the teachers’ ability to identify ways to engage with each individual child that encourage their exploration and understanding of the environment around them, from the consequences of rain and mud and what happens when a seed is planted in the ground through to the power of running rivers.
“It is tremendous to see that the success of the outdoor education experience we offer in Dunblane is inspiring the creation of many more nature kindergartens around the world. The interest from overseas has been phenomenal. It’s also very humbling to know that what we are achieving here is attracting such attention.
“Children are very adaptable, very resilient; for them there is no such thing as bad weather and we are taking that on to develop their learning skills. In the outdoors, they learn perseverance and that when working in the environment success is not instant. The outdoor experience also extends to how they behave and embrace activities indoors.
“This sort of learning is still a personal choice, but we see benefits in term of enthusiasm, engagement and motivation for the children, parents and staff.”
The Dunblane Nature Kindergarten is an indoor/outdoor nursery which allows its 60+ under-fives the freedom to experience all environments while guided by educational experts. The children are observed and their choices and behaviours are used as the basis for each child’s individual learning journey. Parents are kept informed through electronic journals, which ensure that the journey is shared and extended at home.
Many of these practices are being introduced across the other nurseries in the Bertram group.
Dunblane Nature Kindergarten has been awarded ‘Investors in Children’ accreditation, which recognises and celebrates imaginative and inclusive practice that respects the rights of young people and children.
Notes to Editors:
- Bertram Nursery Group operates more than 30 nurseries across the UK, including 16 in Scotland, and employs around 820 staff.
- Bertram Nursery Group supports the Government’s aims to make Scotland the best place to grow up in.
- Bertram Nursery Group is leading the way in quality pre-school childcare provision, through the implementation of developmental, imaginative and stimulating resources, including speech therapy, ‘forestry nurseries’ and links with local communities.
Elizabeth Lambley, Indigo, 0131 554 1230