Bank Staff Early Years Outdoor Practitioner (EYOP)


Willow Den Scotland is a fully outdoor nature-based early learning and childcare (ELC) organisation. Our nurseries are designed for children aged 3 years to school age, we have plans to open in a range of locations across Scotland. We will measure our achievements through the success of our sustainable profit for purpose model, and our social impact.

Willow Den was founded in 2020 by Inspiring Scotland to increase the availability and accessibility of outdoor early learning across Scotland, enabling more children to thrive outdoors. Inspiring Scotland has been supporting the development of outdoor play through its various funds since 2008, establishing Willow Den as a trading arm further demonstrates its commitment in this area.

Our vision is for every family to have the choice for their child to play and learn outdoors. Our mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of children in Scotland through access to fully outdoor Early Learning and Childcare.

We are looking for enthusiastic and motivated Bank Early Years Outdoor Practitioners for our first site, Willow Den at Spartans in the North of Edinburgh.

Role Description 

Bank staff are required by the nursery to cover for or supplement our permanent or part time staff. Typically, we need bank staff to cover for sickness, absence, holidays and periods of temporary fluctuation in our child numbers.

What does ‘bank staff’ mean?

‘Bank staff’ is the collective name used for a pool of people an employer can call on as and when work becomes available

o your employer does not have to give you any minimum working hours

o you do not have to take any work offered

Successful candidates will be flexible, motivated and committed, with experience of working in an early years setting. You will be enthusiastic and friendly with the skills to support the team in offering high quality outdoor ELC.

A passion for delivering outdoor play-based learning for young children is essential. But that is not all. Our bank staff are a key part of the team and ‘walk the talk,’ willing to pull on your wellies and waterproofs and be able to get down and dirty in the mud delivering play and learning experiences that are high quality and child led. You will know how to extend learning opportunities, support risky play and most importantly, how to communicate effectively with children and their families.

The role is ideally suited to an individual who loves the outdoors, you may be thinking of ELC as a career, or be retired from a sector that can bring valuable learning experiences to our children, (outdoor education, emergency services, military, additional support needs, creative industries, environmental or gardening), this list is extensive.


Our newly founded organisation has identified 5 headline priorities:

· To enable more children in Scotland to play, learn and thrive outdoors

· To generate profit for purpose

· Develop our outdoor model to become a mainstream choice for parents

· Expand and effectively monitor, measure, and communicate our social impact

· The Willow Den team will have a range of different backgrounds and experiences; however, all will be united in their support of outdoor Early Learning and Childcare and seeing it grow in scale and impact.


Work with the Early Years team in planning, designing and setting up our outdoor spaces

· Provide cover for Key Workers group of children providing positive experiences and interactions for children

· Lead by example implementing child-led learning

· Follow Willow Den’s approach to Curriculum for Excellence using up to date and relevant resources and documents.

· Support and implement the daily routine

· Carry out administrative duties and observations ensuring children’s files, learning/ care plans are accurate and up to date with support from the Senior EYOP

· Contribute to planning and evaluation of learning

· Be open to learning and developing your own skills & knowledge in outdoor ELC practice

· Build relationships and clear communication with parents and families

· Cover for staff in implementing planning for improvement using HGIOELC/Care Inspectorate Quality Framework

· Provide a role model as a reflective practitioner

· Use technology to communicate children’s progress

· Ensure policies and procedures are understood and implemented

· Complete and follow Risk Assessments, Health and Safety procedures, complete documentation including recording accidents and incidents

Skills & Abilities 

· Good IT skills in Microsoft word essential

· Problem solving

· Registered or willing to register with SSSC

· Must be eligible to work in the UK

Person Specification 

Essential Criteria 

· Qualified to SCQF level 7 in (HNC/SVQ 3) Childhood Practice/Early Years and Young People, you could be currently working towards this, or willing to

· Experience in a Early Years Practitioner role or similar

· Outdoor learning skills and experience

· Full, clean PVG membership

· Knowledge of Curriculum for Excellence in Early Years, specifically Realising the Ambition

· Experience with Health and Safety procedures and Risk Assessments with particular emphasis on outdoor settings

· Competent with online communication, and completing children’s learning journals

Desirable criteria 

· Demonstrable knowledge and understanding of outdoor play/learning (see skills and abilities)

· Knowledge of reflective planning/planning in the moment

· First aid certificate

· Food Hygiene certificate

· Outdoor skills training (Bushcraft/Den Building, woodwork/tools, etc.)

· Driving License to support our cluster model

Personal Qualities 

· Desire for continuous improvement

· Approachable and friendly, ‘a people person’

· Caring and nurturing

· Good verbal and written communication skills

· Positive, ‘can-do’ approach

· Flexible and adaptable

· Collaboration and team working comes naturally

Terms of Engagement 

· Reporting to the Operations Manager

· Hours of work: As and when required

· Contract Basis: Bank Staff

· Paid holidays

· Pay for work-related travel

· Location: North Edinburgh


How Do I Apply? 

Due to changing Covid-19 restrictions, interviews could be held in person, though most likely they will be held online, The timeline will see informal discussions and formal interviews, you will be given the opportunity to showcase both your ELC knowledge and senior/supervisory skills.