Learning in Nature is Excellent....its official!!!
HM Inspectorate of Education has given the highest accolade to Auchlone Nature Kindergarten in Perthshire, Scotland.UK.
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 endeavors 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 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 recognized 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 Member of the Scottish Parliament 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 ( Scottish Education Minister at the time) took great delight in cooking pancakes over the fire with the children. The research, physical sites and books have given people the elements to provoke their own and others thinking that has had impact around the globe.Richard and Cathy Louv author of The Last Child in the Woods, opened the outdoor Kinderkitchen at Auchlone last year and commented on the benefits that the naturalistic opportunities offer the young children in the centre. Their words of support described Claire as the ‘leader of pioneering and sacred work, which filled them with respect.’
Claire warden closed the interview by offering a challenge to us all. “It is important to push boundaries in our thinking, to ask the simple question of Why? Adults need to listen to the voices of children and be sure that the adult decisions are actually in the best interest of children, everywhere across the world. I want people to use this accolade to stand up for a natural, consultative model of care and education that has been rigorously inspected and found to be excellent” For the full report click here