Dunfermline’s premier nursery expanding and creating the first Forest Kindergarten in West Fife

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Now entering its tenth year of providing high quality care and education, Lauriston Nursery has been a victim of its own success and has been regularly been turning families away.Nursery Owner and Director, Amber Brackley explained “The high demand from busy working parents for our services often exceeds the availability we can offer. Indeed it is not uncommon for our rooms to have waiting lists. This is disappointing for both parents who want to be part of our family and ourselves who would be delighted to welcome them. “To reverse the trend, we are expanding our the premises to the East of the current building, which will enable us to increase our capacity from seventy six spaces to one hundred and eleven, a 46% increase in capacity”  The commitment and faith in Lauriston Nursery by the parents of Dunfermline and the surrounding areas is being matched by the company who are intending on investing £400,000 in the development of more space whilst creating ten new jobs.“Whilst we were negotiating with Fife Council to purchase the park to the East of our current building, we approached them to see if we could also purchase the land across the road from our nursery to create more outdoor play/learning areas for the children. Our plans have evolved from the initial enquiry to the creation of bespoke Forest Kindergarten. Our intentions are to securely fence off the area, clean the wooded areas of dead trees, hazards etc. and create a natural area where children of all ages can learn and play in an outside environment”The concept of Forest Kindergartens evolved in the 1950’s in Scandinavia and creates an environment where children can get back to basics in a Kindergarten without ceilings or walls. There have been many studies showing the benefits of exposure to a forest kindergarten for children ranging from increased self-discipline, balance and agility, physical coordination and manual dexterity. According to studies, children who attend forest kindergartens experience fewer injuries in the coming years due to the ability learned to self-assess their surroundings and risks.Amber Brackley concluded “This started out as an initial dream and a “nice too have” now that we own the forest it is all of a sudden becoming reality, where, not only, we can offer the children of Dunfermline the best of care and education but also an amazing outdoor experience. The current nursery children are already very much involved in risk assessing the area and creating activities with the forest!”Amber went on to state “In the coming year there will be a lot of publicity in the media about the implementation of the 1140 hours legislation, which will increase the funded entitlement for three to five-year olds from just under 16 hours per week termly to 30 hours a week.” “While there is no doubt that parent’s need more quality, flexible pre-school education as with any legislation from the government things are never quite as sold!  We have not yet had definite guidelines as to implementation of this extra 14 hours from the Scottish Government and Fife Council. We have, however, spent considerable time reviewing the draft legislation and researching how this policy has been rolled out across England.  Between the expansion of the actual nursery, the purchase of the forest area and the creation of more jobs we feel we are in a strong position to embrace the change and ensure the continuity of the high level of care and education we provide.”