We are fortunate to have a fantastic staff team here at Secret Garden which form part of our wider community. A community of friends, families, children, directors, staff and volunteers. Everyone contributes and everyone is valued.
Sarah is a local lass and her family home is in the nursery’s neighbouring village, Collessie. Her earliest childhood memory is of collecting the wiggly worms that she found in the field while tattie picking on her great aunts farm. Sarah believes that it is because of this memory (and many like it) that she has developed a passion for the natural world. Sarah studied Ecology at the University of Edinburgh and afterwards worked as Education Manager at Aigas Field Centre in the Scottish Highlands – enjoying engaging with children of all ages. In 2015 she completed a MSc in Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education at the University of Edinburgh and through that course discovered the wonders of the early years! Since then she has worked for Wild Sparks Outdoor Play and now the Secret Garden. In her spare time Sarah enjoys walking along the beach, baking cakes and visiting new places.
Vicky qualified as an early years educator and a student welfare worker in Australia where she lived for 14 years before returning home to Scotland. She also has a background in environmental law and education administration and has trained and facilitated various personal growth and emergency preparedness courses for adults and children. Vicky has embraced a peaceful parenting philosophy with her own children, pet rats and cat and is excited to be learning about the Hand in Hand approach used at the Secret Garden. Following a fairly wild childhood exploring Scottish woodlands and an adulthood delighting in the native animals and bush tucker of Australia, Vicky is grateful for the opportunity to help children immerse themselves in nature at the Secret Garden.
Louise has been inspired by and supportive of the Secret Garden since its beginnings, which coincided with her initiation into motherhood. Louise has two young children, and her eldest daughter has grown through three joyful and play-filled years of Secret Garden. Since becoming a mother Louise has been fascinated by the way we parent and educate our children. She has facilitated a course focusing on mindfulness, creativity and supportive self-reflection for parents (“Adventures in Parenting”) and her children are currently home-educated. Being outdoors in nature is a central daily practice keeping her and her children connected, alive and inspired, and deeply nourished. Louise previously worked as a practitioner of homeopathy with adults and children. She brings her experience of mindfulness into the woods in her aspiration to be an aware and mindful practitioner: looking deeply and listening with attention and compassion.
As well as being a Secret Garden woods practitioner Anna is also a Secret Garden parent! She has two beautiful children, one who currently attends the nursery and Anna is home educating her eldest. When not working or playing in the woods Anna is a keen gardner and food grower – she helps organise the nursery garden for us. Anna has an interest in plant medicine and loves to spend time outside (with and without children). She also works as a feltmaker and has made some beautiful pieces including a forest scene wall-hanging which is currently on display in our Cupar office.
Naomi has a background in Design and Art Therapy, she also enjoys being outdoors and the inspiration nature brings. Having been one of the first Secret Garden Directors and seeing her own children thrive at the nursery she finds it very fulfilling to be a permanent member of staff and share in the unique experience the children have. She is currently studying her SVQ3 in Children & Young People.
Karen has been a Forest School Leader for over 10 years, working with primary and pre-school children across Fife. As Chairperson of West Fife OWL (Outdoor and Woodland Learning) Group, she helps promote learning and playing outdoors to schools and nurseries. Karen loves being outdoors, whether it is in the beautiful Secret Garden woods, walking her dog, climbing mountains or playing golf. She also tries (not very successfully!) to grow vegetables in her garden.
Mazz grew up involved with an educational camping charity with an emphasis on ‘learning by doing and teaching by being,’ a philosophy that she believes has been instrumental in steering her personal and professional life, as well as instilling in her a love of the outdoors. Mazz has worked in several urban nurseries as a support assistant, which has reinforced her belief that promoting play in a natural setting is the way to go, having been fortunate enough to experience this for herself! Mazz has fond memories of running amok in various beautiful sites around the UK and is thrilled to be able to faciliate similar experiences for the children of the Secret Garden. Her other hobbies include creative writing and yoga, both of which are greatly improved by regular forays into the wild places around her home in Dundee.
Caera became aware of the Secret Garden not long after finishing high school. She felt an immediate affinity with the ethos and has been working at Secret Garden for just over a year. She’s now studying her HNC in Childhood Practice. In her free time she enjoys crocheting in her garden surrounded by her chickens and hanging out with her cousins.
Chloe is a Forest School Leader who loves to see people benefitting from being amongst nature. In the past she led volunteers on conservation projects in Central and South America as well as the sunny UK, and has a Masters degree in Leadership for Sustainable Development. She likes to work with early years to witness the magical way in which children discover and explore the natural world for themselves. Chloe always enjoys spending time at the Secret Garden; she loves their way of doing things, the ethos, the community and the space. When she is not at the Secret Garden, Chloe runs her own Forest Schools’ sessions and is a mother to two young girls.