Learning in Nature is Excellent....its official!!!
HM Inspectorate of Education has given the highest accolade to Auchlone Nature Kindergarten in Perthshire, Scotland. The inspection was rigorous and has confirmed that children thrive in a naturalistic environment. It is clear from the glowing report that Auchlone has brought together a number of elements defined by the vision of Claire Warden. To create a learning environment which fully meets children’s needs is a challenging process. What appears to be a simple natural space belays the complexity of adult interaction, risk taking, consultation and the fascinations of children that inspire and motivate children to learn across three environments. The centre provides a model that can be transferred across the globe to give children the opportunity for healthy, active environmentally friendly childhoods to build emotional resilience and develop confidence and self esteem.
Claire Warden commented: “In a culture that is becoming very sedentary and risk averse it is a real statement of belief and support that we have received. The Early Years team have created an environment full of possibilities and excitement for young children and their families that has now been acknowledged to lead the sector.”
“Mindstretchers runs the centres as charitable endeavours and has attracted 1000s of international visitors to their annual conference in Crieff and to attend study tours to share good practice in Scotland. I am proud to say that Educators and governments from around the world look to Scotland to inspire and support their journeys into the creation of a naturalistic learning environments. The financial model for investment in this type of centre will see real benefits in the future through reduced health bills linked to obesity and mental well being. “
Niki Buchan, Head of the Kindergartens commented: “I am proud to be associated with Claire Warden’s inspirational vision; her work has been recognised and spread internationally to such an extent that I am now going to be working in Australia to support the approach there in both nurseries and primary schools. My benefit-risk assessments will now have to include deadly spiders and snakes instead of midges and hedgehogs!”
Roseanna Cunningham MSP commented: “All staff deserve credit for working together effectively. I was pleased to see that the company director’s inspirational vision was acknowledged, and that staff get the opportunity for ongoing professional development. All in all Auchlone Nature Kindergarten has earned a valued place in the Crieff community since opening in 2008. May I commend all staff for creating a ‘warm, nurturing, family ethos based on mutual respect’”
Councillor Ann Cowan congratulated the kindergarten and said: “They have given the best possible evaluation of ‘excellent’ on every single judgment. “This shows that for every single measure this is an outstanding pre-school and is a leader in its sector. “I would like to express my admiration for the work of everyone involved, which I have seen for myself on a couple of occasions, and to say many congratulations to one and all.”
Numerous visitors from governments locally and internationally have shared the experience with children. Adam Ingram (Education Minister at the time) took great delight in cooking pancakes over the fire with the children. Jo Fiske (Director of Education, Asker, Norway) commented on the children’s learning experiences and will be bringing government colleagues to the centre on a study visit.
Richard Louv (creator of the phrase ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’) opened the outdoor Kinderkitchen at Auchlone last year and commented on the benefits that the naturalistic opportunities offer the young children in the centre
For the full report see http://www.hmie.gov.uk/ViewEstablishment.aspx?id=12156&type=1
Recent research, carried out by antiseptic brand Savlon and Play England, found that a third of children aged between six and 15 have never climbed a tree, a quarter have never rolled down a hill and almost half have never made a daisy chain, it found.
Catherine Prisk, a former teacher and director of campaign group Play England, said: ‘Playing outside, getting muddy, climbing trees and making daisy chains are simple pleasures many of today’s children are missing out on,’ she said. ‘Children are likely to be more physically active when they play outside and are more likely to play with other children. ‘This is essential for their emotional and physical health, wellbeing and happiness and is also important for their future development, to build vital life and social skills. ‘When children learn to climb a tree they are learning to overcome a physical challenge and it will stand them in good stead for overcoming other challenges in life, such as learning to read.’ She added: ‘If we do not address parents’ safety concerns and encourage our children to make the most of outdoor spaces we will breed a generation of dysfunctional adults.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2012435/1-3-children-climbed-tree-figures-60-watch-TV.html#ixzz1RoFHTxjH