A warm Willow Den welcome

A new families’ experience of joining the Willow Den community.

“With a year to go before starting school, we decided to move our son from a regular nursery to Willow Den. Our hope is that through being outdoors full-time, he’ll learn to embrace the Scottish weather (all year round!), enjoy spending time in nature, and continue to develop his independence and self-confidence.

The team welcomed us all warmly, and by the end of week one they had in-joke with him, and they spoke to us using our first names – a welcome change from “mum” or “dad”.

We’ve loved hearing about the adventures the children seem to have in every action-packed day at Willow Den. The staff let the children take the lead. When they show interest in an activity, the team support the children to follow their interest, safely and with curiosity.

In one short month, we’ve been presented at home time with bow and arrows, necklaces out of elm wood and origami boats. He has proudly explained to us the best technique for reaching the ripest brambles. They’ve also helped dismantle a lawnmower, cooked apple stew on an open fire and visited the local farm.

The team made us feel confident from day one that this is the right childcare setting for our son. We trust and value their passion and knowledge of the outdoors, and their creativity in making it a warm and engaging environment for the children.

It’s amazing to see how a previously disused piece of woodland has transformed into the base for an amazing community and such rich learning experiences.

The thing we love the most is pick-up. When he stumbles towards us proudly bearing the days creations, with a tired but contented smile, and a health layer of dirt. And then good night’s sleep all round!”