The Secret Garden Outdoor Nursery warmly invites you to an information evening at our office base in Volunteer House, Crossgate, Cupar 7-9pm.
If you are a parent or carer, and are curious to learn more about our pioneering and award winning nursery, which is based in Letham woods, only five miles from Cupar, then why not pop along and join us for a cup of tea and a chat.
Our staff and some current parents will be on hand to answer questions, and we will have displays, photographs, literature (and hopefully a short film too!) to give you an insight into the unique and wonderful experience we provide for pre-school aged children.
We are also excited to say that our training facilitator, Louise Durrant, will be there to give a short introductory talk on the Hand in Hand Parenting by Connection Approach used by the nursery.
We welcome children from the age of three and are enrolling now for August 2020. We are a funded partner with Fife Council and so accept council pre-school funding and childcare vouchers. Children can attend full time or part time and can split their funded hours between the Secret Garden and another childcare setting.
This is a free, drop-in event, so please do come along and say hello!
A date for your diary
Please come along and join us for one of our annual fundraising events.
We’re hosting a Prize Bingo Night FUNdraiser at Duffus Park Bowling Club, Cupar on Wednesday 27th November 2019 from 7pm. All proceeds raised will go towards our work, supporting children’s access to nature in the early years.
We’ve secured some wonderful prizes which include sets of scatter cushions, craft items, bottles and edible goodies, children’s books, beeswax food wraps (perfect for packed lunches), gift vouchers and much more!
The entry price of £3 includes tea, coffee, sandwiches & cake. There’s also a bar available.
Bingo books and raffle tickets will be on sale on the night.
Tickets are available from Eventbrite and Fife Voluntary Action reception desk (beside Cupar Post Office).
Eyes Down at 7.30pm – Will you get a Full House?
All welcome – we’d love to see you, your family and friends there.
Re-post, written in September 2018:
When we sent out the weekly email to parents at the end of this week the subject heading was “The Week of the Storm”. Wednesday was a big weather day, a very big weather day. Most of us living in those parts of the UK and Ireland affected by the storm will have a clear memory of the high winds, perhaps the lashing rain, possibly an encounter with fallen trees or branches or a flying wheelie bin. We’ll have our own storm story, with it’s own mix of exhilaration, awe, inconvenience, worry, possibly danger…
And indeed wild weather and high winds can bring danger. There was an amber warning in place for Fife on Wednesday, from 8am to 6pm. The warnings are there for good reason, and we take them seriously at the Secret Garden. We spend our Secret Garden day in a woodland. The topography of the woodland is varied and we are fortunate to be able to find shelter from the wind in most situations. On the rare occasions that the winds become dangerously high we evacuate the woods and take refuge in the village hall at the bottom of the hill. This happens rarely – maybe once a year.
So on Tuesday evening we sent an email out to parents to let them know of the amber warning and to say that we were planning at this stage to remain open. I packed a crate of books, toys, crayons, clay and fabric for indoor den-building and put it in my car, just in case.
When I stepped out of my house at about 8am on Wednesday morning, all was calm and still, a few drops of rain just starting to fall. In the park where the children are dropped off all continued to be calm. Almost no wind. The rain started to fall heavily. We set off up the hill for the woods, telling the parents that we would keep them posted. As we started walking up the hill in the pouring rain I momentarily saw us through the eyes of some of the village residents who were perhaps battening down the hatches in preparation for the coming storm.. “What on earth are they doing?!” What we were doing was having an amazing experience with water. As we walked and the rain tipped down, puddles and streams started to form on the road and track. For the half hour it took us to walk up we were totally absorbed by the water running in sheets and rivulets on the road surface, and the rushing and gurgling in the drains. (We even saw a frog down a drain!)
In the woods we chose a spot that was sheltered from the South and West, the direction that the wind was forecast to come from. We had a parachute tarp for shelter and we made a small fire for warmth and cheer. Some children wanted to go out into the rain that was still beating down, whilst others wanted to cosy round the fire, where we sang songs about ducks and frogs.
As we were sitting and singing the wind started to get up. Round our fire we were still sheltered, but we could hear and see it in the treetops elsewhere in the woods. My co-worker and I took turns to go to the edge of the wood and see what was going on “out there”, and we kept in touch with a third member of staff, who was working nearby. We decided to have an early lunch (just after 11am!), feeling that we wanted to be ready to be leaving the woods before too long. We ate our lunch around the fire, feeling safe and sheltered and listening to the wind and rain. After lunch the rain stopped and the sun came out, but the wind was still strong, and the gusts were intensifying. We decided it would be a sensible time to leave the woods.
We walked down across the stubble in the farmer’s field so that we wouldn’t be walking under any trees. The sky was clear with racing clouds. The wind was strong! We all held hands and enjoyed being blown by the wind. The children were grinning and laughing. What a different feel to the walk up! As we carried on down, the road was littered with leaves and small twigs. (No big branches or trees had fallen at that point, though the wind and gusts did intensify through the afternoon and there were some fallen trees and big branches down in the woods the next day).
Once in the village hall we contacted parents. The children got busy making dens, drawing, playing with farm animals, and building blocks. All was calm, peaceful and contented. We listened to the wind as it gathered strength, howling and battering the windows.
We all enjoyed our indoor afternoon – a real novelty for the children. But what I loved most was that we had been out in the driving rain and the gusting wind, that we had sat round the fire singing songs, that we had been intrepid explorers and come back with our stories of exhilaration, awe and survival…
We take our duty of care to these precious children extremely seriously, and the children’s safety is of paramount importance. But had we just followed the weather warnings without using our own common sense and experience, we might have decided not to have gone to the woods at all. The children might have been denied an experience which some of them will possibly remember for a long time, maybe even the whole of their lives. For sure we need to be alert to the dangers. But there is also a danger of over-protection. Children (and adults) need to fully experience the weather, to feel the power of the elements and how they shape the environment, how they move and shape us. We too are wild in our hearts and souls. Let the children feel the wildness of the weather as a call and response to their own wonderful wildness, the vitality that we never want to tame.
Louise Durrant, the Secret Garden Outdoor Nursery.
The Secret Garden Outdoor Nursery has won the category Best Forest School/Nature Kindergarten in the Scottish NMT Nursery Awards 2019.
As Scotland’s first ever fully outdoor nursery, a unique and highly acclaimed philosophy and practice has evolved in the woods crafted around the guiding principles – Presence, Nature, Play.
Winners of the 6thScottish NMT Nursery Awards 2019 were presented with their trophies by Arlene Stuart at the high-profile gala night held on Friday 30thAugust at the Hilton Glasgow Hotel, attended by over 350 guests.
About the Awards: The Scottish NMT Nursery Awards are an annual event organised by Nursery Management Today, the leading business publication in the nursery sector and sponsored by key companies providing services in the sector. The Awards are designed to discover and reward the very best people in the Scottish Nursery Sector.There were 12 categories to enter overall and there were six finalists in each category with two independent judges.
A word from the Judges: The Judges chose The Secret Garden Outdoor Nursery because of their embedded belief that nature is the facilitator. They recognised the strong, collaborative relationships the nursery has within the local community and how this supports daily experiences. Presence, nature and play all the way.
Naomi and Sarah travelled through to the Glasgow Hilton, replacing their waterproofs and wellies for skirts and heels, to accept the award on behalf of the nursery.
Join us in the woods on Sunday as we open up our site for our annual open day! Running 11am – 2pm at Letham woods, Letham Village, just outside of Cupar in Fife.
We hope you will join us for some fun activities, free play in the woods, an opportunity to chat to staff and go on a guided tour of the site. Everyone is welcome whether you are interested in the nursery for your little one, curious about the Secret Garden, interested in a career with an outdoor nursery, wondering about training opportunities or just fancying a free, fun day out. Pack a picnic and your outdoor clothing and come join us in the woods!
We are also delighted to have some of our friends joining us with their exciting ventures to share:
There is a full event page on our Facebook site so please do pop over there to see a map of where we are and info regarding parking and access.
Thank you to everyone who attended our Information Evening last week – we estimated about 40 people popped into Volunteer House to say hi!
We hope to repeat this type of event several times a year to give prospective parents, student interns, volunteers and generally interested folks the chance to meet SG staff and generally find out more about the nursery.
One of the highlights was definitely the screening of ‘Into the Middle of Nowhere’ a film by Anna Ewart which was filmed in the nursery back in 2010. It illustrates beautifully, the SG ethos and approach to early learning and childcare. We have a short clip of this film on our homepage if you are interested.
Finally don’t worry if you missed this event, please just drop us an email or pick up the phone and call – we are inviting enrolments now and would love to hear from you!
Tel: 01334 652276
The Secret Garden Outdoor Nursery warmly invites you to an information evening at our office base in Volunteer House, Cupar. If you are a parent or carer, and are curious to learn more about our pioneering and award winning nursery, which is based in Letham woods, only five miles from Cupar, then why not pop along and join us for a cup of tea and a chat. Our staff will be on hand to answer questions, and we will have displays, photographs, literature (and hopefully a short film too!) to give you an insight into the unique and wonderful experience we provide for pre-school aged children. We welcome children from the age of three, and enrol throughout the year. We accept Council pre-school funding and childcare vouchers. This is a free, drop-in event, so please do come along and say hello!
At the end of 2017 we were delighted to have been nominated for the Nancy Ovens Awards. Back in 2008 the nursery won the award for Outstanding Contribution to Play and this time, almost 10 years on, we were ecstatic to win the Play in Nursery and School (rural) category! Kath (our Care Manager – right) and Sarah (our Assistant Care Manager – Left) attended the award ceremony at BT Murrayfield which ran alongside Scotland’s first Play Convention.
The Nancy Oven’s Awards were established in 2003 and are Scotland’s only Play Awards. They are supported by the Scottish Government and each year many wonderful play organisations apply to win the prestigious award. You can read more about the Nancy Oven’s Trust here.