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 and are situated in unique and exciting locations across Scotland.

Willow Den was founded in 2020 by Inspiring Scotland to increase the availability and accessibility of outdoor nurseries 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 is a continuation of this work. We will measure our achievements through the success of our profit-for-purpose model and our social impact.

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.

Role Description 

The EYOP will work with the Senior and The Manager to play a key role in embedding high quality learning experiences for children. We are seeking an enthusiastic, friendly practitioner with the skills knowledge and experience who will enhance our existing team.

A passion for delivering outdoor play-based learning for young children is essential. But that is not all. We are looking for an EYP who will ‘walk the talk,’ who can support the creation of 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.


  • Work as a team in planning, designing and continually developing the outdoor spaces.
  • Hold a Key Worker role providing positive experiences and interactions for children
  • Lead by example implement child led learning
  • Embed a curriculum based on curiosity using Realising the Ambition and other relevant local and national documents
  • Support and implement the daily routine
  • Carry out administrative duties and complete daily/weekly/monthly record sheets and risk assessments
  • Carry out observations ensuring children’s files, learning/care plans are accurate and up to date
  • Contribute to planning and evaluation of learning
  • Continually develop own skills & knowledge in outdoor ELC practice
  • Build positive relationships and clear communication lines with parents and families
  • Fully participate in planning for improvement using HGIOELC/Care Inspectorate Quality Framework
  • Provide a role model as a reflective practitioner
  • Use technology to communicate children’s progress
  • Follow policies and procedures, ensuring these are understood and implemented
  • Contribute to the policy working group as part of our collaborative approach to ongoing improvement

Skills & Abilities 

  • Be skilled at creating outdoor play based learning opportunities
  • Understand the impact of positive interactions
  • Be able to create experiences and spaces that provoke curiosity with children outdoors
  • Demonstrate active listening and responding
  • Follow children’s interests
  • Problem solving
  • Excellent communication skills

Person Specification 

Essential Criteria 

  • Qualified to SCQF level 7 (HNC/SVQ 3) as a minimum or willing to work towards this
  • Experience in a EYP role
  • Have a passion for the outdoors
  • Full, clean PVG membership
  • Must be able to register with SSSC as a Childcare Practitioner
  • Knowledge of Curriculum for Excellence in Early Years, specifically Realising the Ambition
  • Commitment to continued professional learning
  • 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 to a high standard

Desirable criteria 

  • Knowledge and understanding of outdoor play/learning (see skills and abilities)
  • Knowledge of reflective planning/planning in the moment
  • Recent outdoor paediatric first aid/first aid certificate
  • Outdoor skills training (Bushcraft/Den Building, etc.)

Personal Qualities 

  • Approachable and friendly, ‘a people person’
  • Caring and nurturing
  • Good verbal and written communication skills
  • Positive, ‘can-do’ approach
  • Passion for outdoor learning
  • Collaboration and team working comes naturally

Inclusion and Diversity

The Willow Den team is made up of diverse people from all kinds of backgrounds bringing vast and unique experiences, all united in our passion for outdoor Early Learning and Childcare.

Terms of Engagement 

  • Reporting to the Nursery Manager
  • Hours of work: Full time 37.5 hours or Part-Time (pro-rata)
  • Contract Basis: Permanent
  • Salary: £21-23k (based on skills and experience)
  • Employer pension contribution 7%
  • Location: Falkirk
  • Job share options may be available

Reference ID: EYOP

How Do I Apply? 

Interviews may be held in person or online, you will be given the opportunity to showcase your ELC knowledge and skills as a reflective practitioner. For an informal chat about the role contact Kathie at jobs@willowden.scot