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Abriachan opening marks outdoor nursery first for Thrive

Abriachan opening marks outdoor nursery first for Thrive

The first outdoor nursery directly supported by the Scottish Government and Inspiring Scotland through its Thrive Outdoors programme has opened at Abriachan Forest near Inverness.

Joining local children and parents at the nursery’s first day was Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd, who cut a bespoke ceremonial ribbon made from greenery. Also there to show support for the new venture was Councillor Margaret Davidson, Leader of Highland Council.

Set in sheltered woodland areas, the nursery will be operated by Abriachan Forest Trust, a community social enterprise already responsible for the management of 540 hectares of forest and open ground above the shores of Loch Ness.

The new nursery has 32 places, and most children attending will split their time between Abriachan and other local nurseries. Outdoor sessions will enable children to benefit from experiential learning through play, while developing social skills, an understanding of risk and an appreciation of nature.

This new provision will contribute to the Scottish Government’s expansion of funded hours to 1140 for all three to five-year-olds from August 2020.

Inspiring Scotland Chief Executive Celia Tennant said:

“This is the first social enterprise-run outdoor nursery directly supported by Scottish Government and Thrive Outdoors, and we are thrilled to be involved.

“We know that outdoor play is critical to all aspects of childhood learning and development, and it’s hugely significant that the value of social enterprise in establishing and delivering high-quality outdoor play and learning is being recognised.”

“Helping to establish this new provision at such an excellent site is an important step in realising our aspiration to make outdoor play a fundamental part of growing up for children across Scotland.”

Abriachan Forest School Manager Roni Smith added:

“We cannot wait and are delighted to finally open our play and place-based learning in Abriachan, so thanks to all those who have supported the venture on behalf of the children and early years staff.”

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