Kids lead nature trail

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Youngsters from Tiptoes Nursery have taken learning to a greener level and gone back to nature.

Normally, a nature approach would be delivered in the countryside but staff are showing locals and visiting Australian teachers that it can be done in urban areas.

The Australian educators visited the nursery on Tuesday, March 28 to observe the practice of Nature Pedagogy which staff use to educate children outdoors in the green spaces of Stenhousemuir.

Steven White (37), Tiptoes nursery manager, is experienced in delivering the approach and has run various projects across Scotland.

Steven said: “When I met the owners, Sheetal and Anoop Shah, my ambition was to get this more mainstream so that other nurseries can take on the idea. You don’t have to go far to find a local forest or green space.”

Australian delegates were shown the practice by Tiptoes in the local forest space and how, with the children they follow their interest as opposed to leading it.

Steven said: “Our children were very accommodating and led the visitors to the Carn Dam woods.

“It was a calm and respectful encounter, they carried on their exploration of the surrounding woods and our guests were grateful for the nature pedagogical approach, as opposed to ‘any structured design led by the teachers’.

“The delegates have kept in touch with us, and are sharing their experiences on the next leg of their journey which now finds them with a visit to Reggio Emilia in Italy.”

A book launch for Niki Buchan’s Children in Wild Nature took place on Monday, March 27 and involved a free training session showcasing Nature Pedagogy in Australia to Falkirk nurseries, Education Scotland, Liz Paterson, head of the Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus charity and other practitioners from the Falkirk area.

Steven said: “From this we have received more interest in Nature Pedagogy and how we do it so we are formulating coaching programs to bring other groups from Falkirk to observe the practice.”

From November, the nursery have been working with staff, children and parents in developing their garden space and on Tuesday, March 28 when posting a video to Facebook they received over 287,000 views stretching out as far as Russia, Australia South East Asia and the USA.