See outdoor nurseries in action!

These amazing videos were made by our parent organisation, Inspring Scotland for the Scottish Government. They explain the benefits and explore some of the most frequently asked questions about outdoor nursery life. Real parents, real staff, and real children share their views and why you should try it!

What do children think of their outdoor nursery?
Why do parents choose an outdoor nursery experience for their child?
What’s it like to work at a fully outdoor nursery?

Why Outdoors?

Willow Den is founded on the belief that playing and learning outdoors is fundamentally beneficial for children’s development, health and wellbeing. 

Whether we are located in the middle of a city or on a remote island, Willow Den children are immersed in their local environment. The constantly changing character of nature affords children an ever-shifting range of experiences to explore. Playing and learning without walls with loose parts and natural resources children’s imaginations can truly soar. 

We firmly believe that children need the opportunity to connect with nature. Given the chance to learn how to care for our planet and the natural world, they grow to love it, and when they love it, they will care for it.

By signing up to Scotland’s National Outdoor Position Statement Willow Den has pledged to support and enable children to access our diverse greenspaces and natural landscapes and to empower them to enjoy these spaces forever.


“Work together to embed playing and learning outdoors as an everyday activity and we will celebrate it as a fundamental part of growing up in Scotland.”

You can read more about the National Position Statement and evidence on the benefits of outdoor play and learning here:  Scotland’s National Outdoor Play and Learning Position Statement

Safe Learning

An exciting and engaging outdoor learning space welcomes every child at Willow Den. Each Willow Den nursery has unique topography, we work with the environment to create stimulating play spaces where children connect with nature. We build strong community connections with opportunities to explore local greenspace, allotments, beaches, woods and parks.  

“If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it.”

David Sobel, Beyond Ecophobia

Muddy & Free - rich, sensory first-hand experience which is essential for growing minds.
Happy outdoors - space and freedom to try things out, explore,experiment and investigate how the world works.
strong and healthy - space for whole-bodies expansive movement

The Wider Impact

We appreciate the outdoor play and learning impacts on many areas of a child’s life. We endeavour to support children to be fully aware of their rights, to be involved in decisions that affect their future, and to understand our impact on the planet and how we can take care of it. 

A Typical Day at Willow Den

Every day in nature is different, at Willow Den we aim to strike a balance between a familiar routine that helps promote a secure, warm and familiar environment and following children’s interests to promote curiosity and inquiry.