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 cannot recommend Auchlone highly enough. The activities available and opportunities given to my son are second to none. He learns and develops through highly engaging, child led, yet well thought out and planned learning experiences. Every part of the Kindergarten puts the needs of my son at the centre and he has thrived since I moved him there. My favourite part of the week is picking him up from Auchlone and hearing all about the fantastic things he's done." Parent interviewed by Care Inspectorate, 2017
"I only wish there were more nurseries like this - that the values and services from Auchlone were universal. I cannot commend them highly enough and though I would like to give critical feedback to improve service... I cannot fault anything they do." Parent interviewed by Care Inspectorate, 2017
"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)