Scotland’s children are inspired to play and develop outdoors, connected to nature and their place and community.
We provide the nurturing environment which inspires children to become resilient, empathetic and achieving in harmony with the natural world, its seasons and native climate. We do this through our network of outdoor nurseries and learning services to primary schools as well as our contribution to developing the young workforce working outdoors.
If we are to deliver our vision, it is essential that we become and remain a fully sustainable business. Every element of our 3-year plan – from our choice of objectives and main activities through to our approach to continuous quality improvement, staff development, marketing, grant-raising and evaluation – is assessed against its contribution to helping us meet this fundamental requirement.
What we Believe
Access to outdoor care and learning enjoys a high priority in the Scottish Government’s blueprint ambitions for expanded funded early years provision in Scotland, and we warmly welcome this.
Not all outdoors experience, play or learning is the same, and we value the increasing diversity, as well as increasing quantity, of outdoor provision we see on offer to parents in different parts of Scotland.
Our contribution to this diversity is our accent on promoting child-led learning and play. We look to challenge ourselves each day to improve on how we practice this approach, including through the ways we design outdoor play structures and spaces with our children.
We value the immersive benefits of children being in the outdoors for the majority of their time, in any season or weather. As long as our children are kept warm and dry, we believe that being out in nature most days and for several hours at a time, provides them with an unparalleled playground, as well as a deep and abiding connection to the natural world.
We believe that resilient, confident, playful children who feel connected to the natural world, and protective of it, enjoy improved health and wellbeing.
We hate waste. We seek to use and re-use natural resources where possible. We believe in the myriad gifts and talents of our staff, and we seek to release their creativity and develop their skills in everything we undertake. We look to spend our hard-earned income well and to identify and eliminate wasteful spending.
We believe that continuous improvement of the quality of our services, and promoting the ongoing development of our staff, supports our growth towards sustainability.
Our Core Values
- We pursue a financially, environmentally and socially sustainable approach to designing and delivering our services.
- We build trusting relationships with our children, families, schools and communities
- We value our staff and promote their development and continued wellbeing
We work to deliver our mission through 4 high-level objectives. All of these are aligned to our need to become and remain a fully sustainable social enterprise.
- We provide high-quality outdoor nursery services at locations across Scotland, enabling child-led play in a nurturing natural environment
- We provide outdoor services to groups of primary school children, building pupils’ confidence in their learning, raising their attainment and improving their wellbeing and resilience
- We provide training programmes and events on outdoor learning and care, including supporting a 2-year apprenticeship programme
We recognise that none of these objectives can be met without our highly-valued staff.
- We provide our staff with rewarding and challenging work which is well remunerated. We are an accredited Living Wage employer. We promote a collegiate working culture, supported by enabling leaders. We have respect for each other, and we implement policies which ensure this. We provide and promote opportunities for continuous learning and development. Where possible, consistent with the needs of the organisation, we encourage flexible and family-friendly conditions of work.
Our Strategic Priorities
We plan to make measurable progress each year in delivering on each of our 4 objectives. We will focus on those areas which help us make the most of our capacity over the period 2018-2020.
In all cases, these will be activities that improve our progress towards full financial sustainability, and in addition also are:
- Outdoors-based, including possibilities where our outdoors element is offered in combination with indoor provision under various hybrid arrangements, including with partners;
- Mainly located in, or economically supportive of, rural areas – albeit ‘rural towns’ rather than ‘remote rural’;
- Distinctive strengths for us already, or have the ready potential to become so; and are
- Predominantly for younger children (aged up to 12, but most frequently those aged 2-5) or are training services provided to adults or young apprentices who care for children of these ages.