Lathallan Nursery Champions Outdoor Learning

Lathallan Nursery in Angus has released a selection of videos that showcase their outdoor ethos and the outdoor learning opportunities available to children aged six months to five years. 

After returning from the lockdown period, the Lathallan Nursery team set their sights on spending as much time outdoors as possible. They reimagined how various areas of Lathallan school grounds could be used to aid learning. The videos they’ve released showcase children exploring Johnshaven beach, climbing in the trees, toasting marshmallows on the campfire, picking fruits, looking after the school chickens and more. 

To watch the videos, click here

The Outdoor Learning Passport they’ve developed at the nursery encourages children to explore the school grounds and beyond, such as climbing rocks and abseiling down, cooking up a storm in the mud kitchen and visiting the treehouse for a story.  

The Lathallan Nursery team have also worked closely with the Virtual Nature School to share best practice and promote learning and play in an outdoor environment. The Virtual Nature School (VNS) is a non-profit programme created in response to the needs of children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The work is led by Dr Claire Warden, manager of Auchlone Nursery, Living Classrooms and Mind Stretchers Academy.

Dr Claire Warder said: 
“Sometimes embedding nature-based play and learning can seem too large a task in education. The team at Lathallan have been on an enthusiastic journey with strong leadership from Debbie. Their commitment and drive to create spaces full of wonderment and joy has been inspiring to see.”

Manager of Lathallan Nursery, Deborah Henderson said:  
“At Lathallan, we are unapologetically focused on the importance and rewarding benefits of outdoor learning. Children engage in a range of imaginative and enriching experiences beyond the classroom where they can be courageous and take risks, challenging themselves and each other to be the best that they can be. We find the wonder in all weathers, helping our little learners to build their resilience and curiosity while experiencing the natural beauty that surrounds us, rain or shine.”

“The Virtual Nature School and collaboration with Dr Claire Warden has greatly enhanced our staff training and development to reignite their passion for nature and this has had transformative effect on the way we support children and use our unique space here on the east coast of Scotland.”

“At Lathallan Nursery, we see first-hand that outdoor play provides rich, sensory, first-hand experiences with our natural world that are essential for curious and enquiring minds. By developing a love of nature in the early years, our little learners are building links and a passion to respect the earth we live on and find their place within it. They know to look after the bees, insects and wildlife as they’ve fostered a caring attitude and are already thinking about the impact they have on our environment.” 

“The restrictions and lockdown we have experienced over the last two years have heightened our need for nature and time in the fresh air. Regardless of a pupils age, we believe that our shared great outdoors provides an unbeatable learning canvas from which to discover and develop as an inquisitive learner in today’s world and we hope that these videos inspire parents and guardians.” 

Deborah has featured in a number of the Virtual Nature School podcasts by sharing best practice and learning alongside practitioners from across Scotland and beyond. 

Commenting with first-hand experience, a parent of a child at Lathallan Nursery, said: 

“Lathallan has been the best start in life we could have given our son. The nurturing community has given him a strong foundation in creativity, outdoor explorations and social interaction”. 

Another Parent of a child at Lathallan Nursery, said: 

“We love that our son spends more time outdoors now as part of these changes. He comes home after every nursery day having learnt new things about the natural world. The setting for Lathallan is ideal for this and the staff have worked really hard to facilitate outdoor activities and learning”. 

A recent Care Inspectorate Report rated Lathallan Nursery ‘Very Good’ in their care and support during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To find out more about Lathallan Nursery you can attend their open days on 7th October, 18th November and 2nd December or visit 

Lathallan School

Lathallan is an independent day and boarding school based on the edge of the stunning North Sea coastline, just north of Montrose. With an average class size of 12, and a small school roll of around 200, Lathallan inspires individuals to achieve their full potential within the spacious 60 acre grounds of Brotherton Castle.

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