The Secret Garden Outdoor Nursery opened its invisible doors in September 2008, receiving at this time the Nancy Ovens Award for Play ‘Outstanding Contribution to Play’ and from Play Scotland ‘Best Practice in Action’. As Scotland’s first ever outdoor nursery, a unique and highly acclaimed philosophy and practice has evolved in the woods crafted around our guiding principles – Presence, Nature, Play. Based in a 25 acre woodland north of Letham village in Fife, the nursery offers explorative full-time outdoor play, 4½ days a week. With a present roll of about 40 children attending between 2 and 4 days per week the enthusiasm for outdoor play and learning appears to be rising. We enrol all year round so please do get in touch if you would like to find out more.
Yurt and tarps offer shelter from weather; fires and much physical movement also keep the cheer and warmth. Our practitioners develop a strong stable presence in the natural environment to ensure that children are safe, secure and are offered excellent child care and educational development. Through complete immersion in the natural world with ‘nature as teacher’ we encourage resilience and confidence in the children whilst practitioners provide a calm, safe space for exploration and learning. This approach allows children to extend their curiosity, enabling them to learn about the world and about themselves through play in the woods. We are Fife Council Partner Providers and are registered with the Care Inspectorate.
As a not for profit organization we invest back into our community of families, staff, volunteers and directors – reinvesting in the unfolding and development of the intrinsic worth of each child. In turn we outwardly share our expertise about nature-based pedagogy and our unique philosophy through our pioneering workshops. Over 10 years we have become an internationally recognised centre for excellence, attracting interest worldwide.
In 2017 we won the Nancy Ovens Award for Play for a second time and our founder’s achievements in services to Early Years Play and Education were formally recognised through the honour of a British Empire Medal. In 2019 we received the best Forest school/Kindergarten award from NMT and in 2020 we also received the NMT national award for best forest school/Kindergarten.