Families can now borrow a rucksack packed full of advice, ideas, resources and fun activities to do outdoors from their children’s nursery or family learning centre.
These nurseries have been selected following the completion of Forestry Commission Scotland’s Forest Kindergarten training and are actively following the Forest Kindergarten programme.
The rucksacks include advice and information for families while visiting their local woodland area, as well as tools to support outdoor play including tarpaulin, pegs and a sitting mat. The bags also enable children to explore using their senses and imagination, through a range of fun activities, including activity sheets, a story book, finger puppet, binoculars, bug viewer and magnifying glass.
Marian Cairns, forest kindergarten officer at Forestry Commission Scotland, said: “Forestry Commission Scotland is committed to extending the responsible use of woodlands and green spaces. These forest family bags support children in enjoying their local woods alongside their parents. The contents of the bags support understanding, learning and enjoyment. This initiative builds upon our existing training for nursery staff and enhances the benefits of learning in woodlands.”
Lauren Maguire, manager at Mulberry Bush Montessori, which piloted the Forest Family Bags, said: “Mulberry has been practising Forest Kindergarten for a number of years. Our children, parents and staff are delighted with the introduction of the Forest Family Bag, which is a great resource for linking home and nursery activities. The bag has enabled our parents to take learning outdoors and get the whole family involved – a great resource and great fun for all our active learners.”
Forestry Commission Scotland started developing the Forest Kindergarten programme in 2009, which is a practical, hands-on course designed to specifically meet the needs of early years staff and equip them with the knowledge, understanding and skills to support children in learning through play in local woodlands and greenspaces. The programme promotes the use of woodlands as a learning environment and involves a range of activities, including exploring for bugs, tracking animals, building dens, arts and crafts and learning about the dangers and risks to look out for in a woodland setting.
Research has shown that play and learning in woodland and green spaces leads to a range of benefits for children’s development, including better concentration, better communication skills, greater stamina, improved balance and coordination, increased confidence and appreciation and understanding of the outdoors. A ‘ripple’ effect also occurs as families then choose to access outdoor spaces more frequently. The forest family bags are designed to enhance this benefit.
For more information on Forestry Commission Scotland’s Forest Kindergarten programme and the Forest Family Bags, contact Marian Cairns at email@example.com
Full list of Glasgow nurseries which have received the Forest Family Bags:
• Rising Stars
• Seudan Beaga
• Orchard Grove Kindergarten
• The Family Legacy
• Glasgow Kelvin Busy Bees
• Maryhill Step by Step
• Kelvinside Academy
• Woodlands Outdoor Kindergarten
• Mulberry Bush Montessori
• Woodlands Outdoor Kindergarten - West
• Deanpark Nursery School
• Wyndford Nursery School
• Castlemilk Family Learning Centre
• Drumchapel Family Learning Centre
• Lyoncross Nursery
• Castlemilk Day Nursery
• Chesters Nursery
• Sandyford Day Nursery
• Pikeman Nursery and Family Learning Centre
• Onslow Drive Day Nursery
• Nitsdale Road
• Buchlyvie Nursery
• Broomloan Nursery
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