In 2006 Mindstretchers opened the first outdoor Nature Kindergarten in Scotland with the underlying philosophy of Claire Warden as defined in her book Nature Kindergartens. The site later moved to Auchlone Nature Kindergarten near Crieff, Scotland, in 2009. The enthusiastic implementation of the Nature Kindergarten philosophy has resulted in Auchlone being considered sector leading and recognised internationally.
Auchlone offers the best of all worlds to allow children the opportunity to build great childhood memories - a secure natural space inside, a gently challenging outdoor investigative zone which supports young children to develop emotional confidence and skills, and then the wild wood where they can feel the freedom of a fully natural environment. Children from the age of 2 years spend the majority of the day outdoors in all weathers, either in the very naturalistic garden or in the woodlands where they build dens and bird hides using tools such as saws and loppers, make fires to cook their own snacks, climb trees and generally explore the wonders that the woodlands have to offer.
Above all we hope to share a positive attitude and enthusiasm for experiential learning.
Auchlone aims to:
Auchlone Nature Kindergarten recently won the Nursery Outdoor Learning Environment award at the Scottish NMT Nursery Awards 2016.
The judges chose Auchlone Nature Kindergarten because we "demonstrated a high quality outdoor living classroom that inspires and excites children. The children were very much involved in decision making and planning. Overall the nursery provides fantastic life skill opportunities that the children can use with confidence."
Manager Danielle Ramsay said: "All of the staff, parents and children are ecstatic to win this award. It has affirmed that the Auchlone ethos and outdoor learning we do with children helps give the best start in life."
Auchlone was also a nominee for "Nursery of the Year" in the Nursery World Awards 2016.
"I was blown away when I visited Auchlone. I don't think photos can truly do it justice." (Nature Kindergarten Visit, 2016)
"Our daughter has attended Auchlone for... months and it has been a very positive experience both for her and us. The staff are fantastic and really care about the children and their development." (Parent interviewed by Care Inspectorate, 2014)
"You only have to see and speak to the children to know that they can develop and grow in this wonderful nursery. (Parent interviewed by Care Inspectorate, 2014)