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-Jane Latto Nursery Manager
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.
Nursery Administrator & Woods Practitioner
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.
Naomi Ellis-Morton Woods Practitioner
Naomi lives locally in Collessie and 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 Naomi 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.
Anna Kinross Woods Practitioner
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. 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.
Karen Valentine Woods Practitioner
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 enjoys growing vegetables in her garden and helping out with the nursery garden too.
Louise Durrant Staff Mentor and Training Facilitator
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, who both enjoyed 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 eldest is 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. Louise supports the staff training and mentoring programme and also facilitates workshops for the Secret Garden. She is a qualified Hand in Hand Parenting instructor.
Mazz Brown - Sessional Practitioner
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.
Claire McGarrie - Sessional Practitioner
Claire has just stepped back into the woods after several years following a different path. We are delighted to have her back and will hopefully have a bio for her soon!
Laura McDonald - Sessional Practitioner
Laura joined us this summer and we are excited to welcome her onto the sessional team! Her bio will be up shortly.
Claudia Ortiz - Sessional Practitioner
Claudia has also just joined us this summer and we are so pleased to have her on our sessional team. Claudia’s bio will be posted shortly.
Alice O'Rouke - Sessional Practitioner
Alice stepped into the woods in September 2018 to lead our ‘Buzzards’ group for a year. She worked alongside 8 adventurous and energetic 5-7 year olds who were remaining at the nursery for an extra year or who were with the nursery as part of their home-schooling or flexi-schooling programme. Alice is now embarking on teacher training and is studying in Edinburgh. She is hopeful to manage a few visits back to Fife during her holidays to enjoy being back in the woods again.