Why Thrive is Committed to Nature Kindergartens and Outdoor Learning

The benefits of hands-on outdoor learning and exploration are vast. From children’s physical fitness and development to their emotional wellbeing, there is much research which confirms the benefits of connecting with nature.

At Thrive, we believe young children’s motivation, perseverance, independence, social skills, self-confidence and self-esteem will also be boosted by spending time outdoors.


Our investment in our network of Nature Kindergartens underpins our vision of supporting children to learn and develop through experience and exploration of the natural environment.


We currently have Nature Kindergartens in Dunblane, Musselburgh, Dundee and Kirkintilloch in Scotland and at Astley and Media City in Greater Manchester and we continue to expand this network.

Each Nature Kindergarten makes best use of its own outdoor space and its local area to give children access to activities and learning including:


  • Planting and growing flowers, fruit and vegetables
  • Birdwatching and observing animals and insects in their natural environment, including pond-dwellers such as fish and frogs
  • Cooking using fire pits
  • Den and hammock making in woodland areas
  • Climbing trees
  • Establishing and exploring wildflower areas including understanding hazards such as stinging nettles
  • Making natural crafts such as bird boxes and using tools in outdoor classrooms
  • Conserving nature and using sustainable resources
  • Splashing in puddles, playing in mud kitchens and rolling on the grass.

Our Musselburgh Nature Kindergarten also enjoys close proximity to the beach where children also play and explore regularly.


Our head of Early Years, Ursula Krystek-Walton, explains: “From access to fresh air and Vitamin D to developing a wider range of balance and movement skills, the benefits to children’s physical health are vast.


“They learn to negotiate different terrain, from climbing a hill to getting muddy and grassy or scuffling in fallen leaves. It increases their spatial awareness and encourages them to move their bodies in different ways.


“We discuss risks and how to overcome them before supervising activities such as tree climbing. If they don’t succeed first time, with encouragement children develop the ability and resilience to persevere.

Children playing in the garden of our children's nursery in Astley, Greater Manchester, Astley Nature Kindergarten

“But there are even greater benefits to their emotional wellbeing, such developing self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-regulation skills. Plus, they are usually exhausted by the end of the day which helps them to develop healthy sleep patterns.”


Our Nature Kindergartens naturally promote creative skills and activities and incorporate areas of learning such as communication and literacy, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and conservation, teaching the children to take care of the planet and be conscientious citizens.


Each Nature Kindergarten will have a qualified Nature Kindergarten leader who works with the nursery team to develop their understanding and knowledge of how best to support the children’s outdoor learning.


Our pre-school children will usually spend a minimum of 50 per cent of their time outside and we are developing safe areas for our babies and younger toddlers to explore outdoors in all weathers, ensuring appropriate warm protective outdoor clothing is available if required.

Find out more about our Nature Kindergartens in Astley, Dunblane, Dundee, Media City, Musselburgh and Kirkintilloch.