Open day at Fife’s only outdoor nursery to mark Upstart campaign

Secret Garden Outdoor Nursery, Letham, holds open day May 15, also launching Upstart campaign
Secret Garden Outdoor Nursery, Letham, holds open day May 15, also launching Upstart campaign

Fife’s only outdoor nursery opens its invisible doors to the public this weekend to mark the launch of the Upstart Scotland campaign and National Children’s Day 2016.

The Secret Garden Outdoor, held entirely outdoors in Letham woods all year round, will mark Upstart Scotland’s campaign to change the school starting age to seven.

On Sunday visitors will be able to see the skills in childcare boasted by the nursery, including songs and stories, fire lighting, den building and much more.

“We want to show parents and educators what could be possible if we change the school starting age to seven and let the play go on in the woods until then.

“We have had a number of parents defer their children’s starting school for a year or even two and have found the benefits immeasurable,” said Cathy Bache, Secret Garden Founder.

The nursery is based in a 25 acre woodland north of Letham village, offering explorative full-time outdoor play.

And with around 40 children attending, the enthusiasm for outdoor play and learning appears to be rising.

Sue Palmer, chairman of Upstart, explained what the aims of the organisation are.

She said: “Scotland’s very early school starting age means we have a cultural attachment to cracking on with formal learning at P1 so the principles of the Early Level are forgotten.”

She added: “When sound developmental foundations are not established – and most children are not fully mature in every respect until they’re six, or even seven – there are likely to be problems in the future.

The Secret Garden Outdoor will be open to visitors this Sunday (May 15) between 2pm and 4pm.

All visitors are asked to park at Letham Village Hall.