Tiny pupils enjoy outdoor learning

Tiptoes Nursery owners Anoop Shah and Sheetal Shah
Tiptoes Nursery owners Anoop Shah and Sheetal Shah

Children attending a local nursery are getting back to nature with their new outdoor classroom.

When Sheetal and Anoop Shah bought Tiptoes Nursery in Stenhousemuir last December they spent £65,000 on renovations which have included transforming a half acre outside play area into a valuable learning resource.

Working with a landscape architect, the former actuary and her cardiologist husband have established the outdoor classroom, complete with fire-pit and a range of natural resources for the children to climb, build and explore.

They have also taken on seven members of staff, including an outdoor learning co-ordinator, and hope to add more as the number of children increase.

Sheetal said: “It’s been challenging but we’ve never wavered from our goal of creating a nursery that allows the children to develop physically and emotionally through their interaction with the natural world. We are now working with the Forestry Commission and have introduced forest school days teaching the children basic bush craft skills.”

She received support from Falkirk Business Gateway, adding: “Becoming your own boss, and a first-time employer, is daunting. Although I had the project management skills needed to run a business I didn’t have the day to day knowledge necessary so attended nearly all its free workshops.”

It was after becoming a mum and seeing the work being done at her cousin’s nurseries in London that inspired Sheetal to set up her own business and two years later the couple purchased Tiptoes.