We have been delighted with the success of the kindergarten since opening in 2009. Asides the kids, our most important feedback comes from the parents. Parents have played a very active role in the kindergarten and you can view a selection of their comments below. We are also delighted to have had great feedback from government officials, following our official opening on 28th October 2009 by Adam Ingram, Minister for Children and Early Years; and from the Care Inspectorate, who at our latest inspection graded the kindergarten ‘sector-leading’ with top grade of ‘excellent’ across all eight inspection areas.
“Helping children learn about the environment through touch and play is vital to their physical development and imagination, particularly during the early years. There is a cotton-wool culture that has developed in Scotland and encouraging young people to get out and reconnect with the natural world can only enrich their lives” Adam Ingram, Minister for Children and Early Years
“As someone who is very aware of how lucky we are in Glasgow to have such fabulous parks available to us, it was a particular delight to see the children so comfortable with their outdoor surroundings. It was great to see Pollok Country Park used in this imaginative and creative way. I have no doubt that the youngsters who have access to this kind of care at such an early age will develop a confidence in and love of the outdoors that will benefit them in the future.” Johann Lamont MSP
“Thanks for providing a fantastic year and a half of woodland fun and learning for my boy. It has been better than I could have dreamed. Your staff are brilliant. Well done.”
“It’s really been a fantastic opportunity for (my son) to attend and develop with WOK and we couldn’t have wished for a nicer team of people to look after him and bring him on. You’ve all be really amazing, thank you so much! We’ll miss you when those school days finally come!”
“Cheers to WOK. It has been a pleasure to have [our son] attend the kindergarten. He’s really enjoyed his time with you all, and is a happier, braver, noisier boy as a result of his Fridays with you all in ‘the forest’. And he really loves the ‘teachers’ (special mentions to Fiona and David). I think he’s particularly benefited from having male role models, which sadly is so unusual in other nursery settings. See you all in a few years when this next one comes to join the crew!”
“We would like to thank you for everything you’ve done for (our daughter) over the last 2 years. She has grown and developed so much since she started at WOK. She has loved every minute of it and so have we.”
“I would like to thank you both personally for your determination & vision, bring the woodland kindergarten to Glasgow and Pollok Country Park, and giving my child this unique opportunity to learn out of doors, in all weathers and develop the tenacity which will he will need for tomorrows demanding world. You have both done a superb job in involving parents, making the right staff appointments and keeping that professional – personal balance, not to mention run the business efficiently when it come to billing and web sites. Your email newsletters are ideal; seasonally informative and pitched at just the right level.”
“My child attended an indoor nursery for two years before joining Woodlands and we are in no doubt he finds Woodlands nursery a more positive experience in every way. We would happily recommend this nursery to friends”.
“My daughter attended this kindergarten since it opened, and since the first day the service has been well run in a very child centred caring way. The staff all know my child as an individual, and despite greatly increasing numbers lately, they still remember what CD she likes to listen to on the bus. I wish every child had an opportunity like this, we would have a nation of confident, healthy kids”.
“We are absolutely delighted with this kindergarten. Our son is very happy there and we feel it has made a big difference to him in his confidence, independence and interaction with other children. The staff are all great and it is clear to see how enthusiastic they are about their job, both at the beginning and end of each full day, outdoors in any weather. I feel that they are very good at making sure that they know each child well and pay a lot of attention to how they are getting on each day and their general progress and happiness”.
“This nursery provides a wonderful opportunity for my son to understand the natural environment and learn through it. Being out all day regardless of the weather teaches children resilience and to accept that bad weather isn’t reason for being indoors watching TV. The quality of staff is strikingly high and the level of organisation has continually impressed me. I would recommend this nursery to anyone. A fabulous opportunity for children, unmatched in other educational organisations”.
“Fantastic service, dedicated staff. My child engages really well with staff and thoroughly enjoys the range of activities and adventures offered. Would highly recommend to any parent – wonderful”.
“The staff provide a very professional and personal service. Our daughter looks forward to her day at the ‘hammock’ nursery every week. We hope the nursery continues to grow its numbers, we have our son on the waiting list”.
“We chose Woodlands Kindergarten for our three year old son because of the nursery commitment to taking the children outdoors. This was an issue in a previous nursery where we were concerned he didn’t get outside enough. We like the fact that our sons imagination has flourished since he joined Woodlands. We like the fact that there is much less gendered play. We have found his enthusiasm for nature has grown as has his physical co-ordination and confidence about taking risks has improved for example he makes his own assessment about a wall and if he can get down safely. In short we think it is a very special and imaginative place for pre-school children”.
“Letting children play outside is good for their health and good for their development. From the first time I found out about forest kindergartens in a parenting book from the library, I was excited to learn more, and then delighted to find that one was starting up within walking distance of my home in Giffnock. There will be plenty of time for alphabets and counting, later. At this age, it’s more important to find out who you are, how to deal with other people, and how the world works. Nature lets you do those things better than anywhere else. There is plenty to learn of its intricate complexity, but it is also a much richer backdrop against which to learn abstract concepts than a playground or a even disinfected classroom. The seasons, weather, landscapes and plant life are fascinating, and build a great foundation for a healthy adulthood. The challenges that children face allow them to try to work together and devise solutions. The endless space is a rare treat that encourages imagination, reduces conflict and stress. With my first and second children in primary school, my third has just started going to a state nursery in the mornings. There is no pressing need for all-day childcare, because my wife is usually at home, but the idea of the forest kindergarten has captivated us. We decided to forego the state nursery and pay for one day a week. We save money by paying tax-free through my employer, and look forward to being able to transfer the state funding full time, when that’s available. Fears about safety and stranger-danger have grown out of proportion and led to more passive TV watching, indoor games and adult-organised activities. These ignore the opposite risks of poor health, limited experience of the world, unimaginative activities and poor risk assessment by children. Some people are even frightened of the rain. Forest kindergartens confront the myths face-on, winning praise from government and experts alike. The staff at Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens are first rate. A dazzling array of qualifications in forest school leadership and primary school teaching underlie the simple truth that the children have a good time with them. They’re prepared for anything, but know when to stand back. My son loves it. Every time he goes, he comes back full of excitement and asking when he can go again. The day doesn’t need to be packed with planned achievements. They can take a nap, listen to a story, dig a hole, climb a tree, find something new, or try something that might not work. I want him to have the confidence to take the initiative, and I’m sure the forest kindergarten will help. I wish this had been available earlier, for my other children.”
“What the WOK team is doing is brave, ground breaking, adult challenging, child affirming, natural and life changing!”
“What a great time our daughter has had at WOK. We’re all really sad to see her finishing up and hanging up her backpack! We’ve seen huge development in her confidence and awareness of nature since joining the nursery. She enjoys all things muddy and creepy crawly and I can’t tell you how much this helps in our every day family life. There is just never an issue of going camping in the pouring rain and making our own fun in the woods. She even teaches us a thing or two! Her little sister has just turned 2 and we are counting the months til we can sign her up for some woodland fun!”
“We would like to thank all the staff past and present for their loving care of our son over the past 2 years, in what were embryonic days for the new style outdoor nursery. The staff have always shown great kindness and patience with the children and have been in a fortunate position to watch them grown and develop every day, nurturing their individuality and self confidence in mud and log piles.”
“My daughter recently joined the Outdoor nursery – she has always been a child who relished being outdoors and the option of a “normal” nursery school seemed much less appealing. Already we are seeing her blossom with confidence both in her physical movements and her social interactions. Woodlands provides her with an exemplary standard of education; the staff are marvellous, dedicated and knowledgeable. It is a fantastic organisation for both children and parents.”
“This forest kindergarten is an excellent case of using this innovative idea, in sometimes challenging urban areas. All nurseries should have an element of this. I would recommend trusting the staff with their skills and encouraging them to go beyond the usual fearful constraints of ‘safety’ and ‘regulation’ which actually often work against the long term interests of children by stunting their experience of adventure, risk and the real world. My son asked daily which nursery he was going to, and was always delighted when he heard it was this one, not the council’s”.
“We believe this to be a fantastic resource and have and will continue to recommend it to others. We can’t speak highly enough of all staff and their commitment to our daughter’s development and attainment. The nursery has grown in such a short space of time and this has been down to the hard work and forward thinking of all staff involved”.
“We feel that by living in the inner city area of Glasgow that having this facility to have our children spend whole days outside in the woods is beneficial for us and our children’s development”.
“Our son has been attending the Woodlands Outdoor Kindergarten since they opened in October last year and I can honestly say that I have nothing but praise for the owners, the staff and the way the nursery is run. Our son is usually found in our back garden playing about half an hour after he bounces out of bed and would happily still be playing there at midnight if you let him, so the fact that he gets to play in a park all day to him is heaven, so much so that he begged me to send him there another day from the two he already attends so he is now at Woodlands three days a week. The staff give him a free reign (within reason obviously) to choose what activities he wishes to do during the day while still maintaining the national curriculum standards and his knowledge and grasp of numbers, counting and alphabet over the past seven months has really impressed me. I really love the fact that due to the staffing levels our son has a lot of one to one time and attention with the staff and especially his keyworker who I have to say is amazing with her patience and understanding of our son and his needs as a typical four year old boisterous boy, although all the staff can give me a full days report on what our son was up to during the day when asked, rather than just a general ‘yes he was fine today’ which I received elsewhere. The fact that they take daily photos is also a great idea as it shows the parents all the bits during the day that the children forget to tell you. We are regularly kept up-to-date by phone, emails and parents evenings and I would consider the staff very approachable, including the owners should you wish a quick one to one to discuss any concerns or ideas and I would honestly give the nursery 10 out of 10 for all aspects of nursery care provided and will be sending my second child there as soon as she becomes of age”.
“Really happy with the service and our child is very happy. He did have an initial detachment issue but the service dealt with this very well. They are very good at communicating. Even when the weather is bad they deal with it well and the children have appropriate clothing and can go into sleeping bags to heat up”.
“We are delighted with the service. There are all sorts of interesting activities and our son is very happy and has become more confident. Staff are very committed, positive and enthusiastic”.
“With huge expectation and excitement on our part, and a certain degree of apprehension on our son’s part, we dropped our son off for his first day of woodland kindergarten this week. He certainly looked the part, kitted out head to toe in his waterproofs, rucksack on his back. But how would he find the transition from his more traditional “indoor” nursery, to spending whole days roaming the forest in the middle of October? It turns out we needn’t have worried. Pick up at 5 o’clock after a days play (and picnic lunch) in Pollok park and he was certainly tired, certainly muddy and very obviously happy! It was a quick dinner and then straight to bed. Porridge time the following morning brought with it stories of snake pits, forest dens, dragons and ghosts. A little imagination running wild. A little boy dying to go straight back to “outdoor” nursery. We wondered how he’d cope with 2 days in a row. Once again, we needn’t have worried, he’s stronger and more resilient than we probably give him credit for. This morning he was due to go back to “indoor nursery” for the day. He wasn’t convinced. He’d always had plenty of friends and great fun there, but I guess the freedom of the outdoors and the limitless options for exploration are a big pull for a little boy on the lookout for, in his own words, ‘an abenture!’ ”