Outdoor kindergarten: Presence, Nature, Play
at ‘In the Footsteps of Giants’, Edinburgh, March 14th 2020. Tickets on Eventbrite.
With a first degree in Ecology and a masters in Outdoor, Environmental & Sustainability Education, Sarah’s journey into early years followed three years as a ranger, sharing the wonders of the wild Scottish Highlands with children and adults. “The sheer joy and amazement on children’s faces after an hour-long hide visit to finally see a pine marten! Or the quiet and gentle concentration as they watch and wait for a dragonfly to land on their arm.’’
She began working in early years in 2015 and is now manager of the Secret Garden Outdoor Nursery in Fife. It is a unique and inspiring nursery, combining children’s need for play in nature with the gentle presence of staff in a non-hurried environment. Sarah now offers kindergarten outdoor education for children between three and seven years old.
The Secret Garden also offers the highly-acclaimed Hand-in-Hand training programme for teachers. Sarah believes that by providing rich, nourishing and playful experiences in nature for the youngest members of society, we introduce a healthy and strong connection with the natural world, coupled with understanding of how its systems are intertwined and dependent on each other. Nurture of this understanding (which was taken for granted in the past) must, in the 21st century, be an essential part of early years education.