As an ever growing and dynamic organisation, the Secret Garden provides regular opportunities for interested parties. We are not currently recruiting but do contact us if you would like to get involved with the nursery in some way. Read on to find out more about volunteering and student placements with the nursery.
Volunteer with us
As a not for profit organisation we welcome anyone who may have some time to give to the nursery. You may have some administration skills to support the office staff or more outdoor, practical skills to bring to the woods. Please do get in touch with the office if you may be interested in volunteering with us. You can see a list of our current wonderful volunteers below!
Ellie McKay - Volunteer
Ellie is a second-year student on the Outdoor Education and Learning (BA) Hons Degree at Perth College UHI. She is interested in a career in the Outdoor Learning environment working with early years and primary age children in particular. Ellie is hoping to gain some unique experiences and insight by volunteering at The Secret Garden Outdoor Nursery. She has lived in Fife her whole life and has been lucky enough to have been brought up always outdoors and exploring. In her spare time, she enjoys kayaking around the coast of Fife, dabbling in photography and exploring her local woodlands with her three spaniels.
Emma Brown - Volunteer
Emma has over ten years experience working with young children as a Primary teacher and formerly working in child health. Growing up in Fife , Emma has fond memories of playing in the woods and fields near her family home where she developed a connection to the natural environment as a place to explore, play and learn. As a Secret Garden parent, she has witnessed the positive impact the outdoor nursery experience has had on her daughter’s personal development. Having listened to her daughter’s stories of the fun she has in the woods, Emma is keen to begin her own Secret Garden adventure!
We can also welcome students on placement from universities and collages. So if you fancy spending your placement outside in the woods, working at a nursery that is a little different then please do get in touch – we’d love to hear from you. You can read Natasha’s and Antje’s stories below, they both volunteered with the nursery over the course of several months.
Antje Bahlinger - Student Internship Jan-March 2018
I spent three months volunteering at the Secret Garden Outdoor Nursery from January to March 2018 as part of my course (Childhood Education in Freiburg, Germany). All staff members, children and their families have given me a warm welcome in the woods. The team has been open to answering any arising questions and has given me the opportunity to take on responsibility in a supportive environment.
I‘ve always been passionate about the outdoors and my placement at the Secret Garden has given me the opportunity to combine my love for early years with the one I have for nature. Now, I am confident that I want to work in an outdoor nursery after my graduation in 2019. My time at the Secret Garden has helped me in my development as an early years practitioner and has inspired me for my future work.
If you are thinking about a student placement, I couldn‘t encourage you more to get in touch and arrange a visit to see for yourself if the Secret Garden Outdoor Nursery might be the right place for you.
Natasha Lowery - Student Placement Jan-April 2019
Growing with the Secret Garden… On a mid April Monday, as the train brought me back towards Edinburgh, I reflected on how much has changed since I began placement in January at the Secret Garden. The days are longer now, so I don’t have to walk home in the dark. There is warmth to the air, often blown swiftly away by the strong wind, and the birds seem to never lose their breath as they sing from the treetops. My body and mind feel more alert at the end of the day, less tired, as if they have become accustomed to the long day and have grown stronger. But more than that, despite the movement of the train bringing me physically further from the woods, the children, and the other practitioners, I feel more connected and settled.
I have learned so much at The Secret Garden, from the practitioner team, the children, and the woods. They have all offered the gift of awareness and connection and so even though my time there has ended, they are gifts that I can bring with me and carry forward through my practice and personal life. The teams commitment to awareness and support of learners (both the children and myself) is fantastic, and from my experience in this field, a rarity. I know I will continue to grow and learn from my time at The Secret Garden, as I continue to reflect on the moments we shared together. So for now, a HUGE thank you to the Secret Garden community, and best wishes for the future.