Earthtime's Forest School Nursery logo

Earthtime nurseries provide a safe, secure outdoor environment where the children are free to explore, play and investigate supported by experienced and enthusiastic practitioners and qualified Level 3 Forest School Leaders.

Exploring the natural environment outdoors from our nursery sites at Duffus Estate and Cooper Park in Elgin, we aim to be outdoors 90% of the time with our indoor space allowing for shelter and warmth on days when the weather provides a little more challenge!

You can use your allocation of funded nursery sessions in more than one nursery, as per the Government’s guidelines for promoting the availability of flexible childcare, so you can split your child’s funding across Earthtime and another nursery or between both Earthtime nurseries, to benefit from our very different settings and the rich experiences they both offer..

woodland children

As I listen and talk in different situations, I am learning to take turns and am developing my awareness of when to talk and when to listen.

LIT 0-02a, ENG 0-03a Article 31 Every child has the right to relax, play and take part in a wide range of cultural and artistic activities.

Yellow Girl
Collecting leaves

A visiting music teacher helps us to make music and experiment with sound in our outdoor setting.

I enjoy singing and playing along to music of different styles and cultures EXA 0-16a Article 29 Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full.

Picking carrots

I explore and appreciate the wonder of nature within different environments and have played a part in caring for the environment.

SOC 0-07a Article 29 Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full. It must encourage the child’s respect for human rights, as well as respect for their parents, their own and other cultures, and the environment.

Earthtime’s aim is to provide a place of welcome for all families, a safe environment where children can play and learn through an understanding and connection with nature, all the while encouraging the child’s adventurous spirit.

Naughts and crosses
Playing noughts and crosses with wooden discs in the great outdoors

Collecting leaves to identify which tree they came from and also link to colour identification and seasons. I explore and discover the interesting features of my local environment to develop an awareness of the world around me.

 SOC 0-07a Article 31

Every child has the right to relax, play and take part in a wide range of cultural and artistic activities.

Making music
Making music

Harvesting vegetables to eat from our garden and learning where our food comes from.

I enjoy eating a diversity of foods in a range of social situations HWB 0-29a

I know that people need different kinds of food to keep them healthy HWB 0-32a

Article 24 The right to nutritious food

At the pond
Observing the wildlife on the pond and learning about swans and using our nets to collect any litter that we find on the pond.

building mini-dens

Mini-den building and learning about the importance of shelter

At our nurseries children will be cherished and nurtured so that they can develop the self-belief and confidence that will enable them to reach their potential in whichever direction they wish their lives to go.

Forest School Principles

Earthtime’s outdoor nurseries follow the Forest School ethos & principles. This involves the children being in an outdoor environment to develop a range of skills. Practitioners build a different relationship with the children because it’s much more child-led. When they discover something, or realise they can do something, it’s that complete WOW! moment.

Cooking on a wood fire and using tools are incorporated in the sessions, giving the children confidence in their own abilities and the opportunity to develop strong cooperation skills. The Forest School ethos teaches respect for all and promotes the child’s right to play. Learning in the outdoors also provides a multi-sensory environment, providing a magical experience for all.

fire lighting

Spending time in the outdoors naturally covers all of the same experiences and outcomes of the Curriculum for Excellence as you would expect from an Early Years provider and supports child-led learning and risk taking.  The possibilities for learning and developing emotional intelligence and fun are endless.

Earthtime are dedicated to ensuring each child’s needs and interests are met and will incorporate these into their planning of fun-filled days and engaging activities. Therefore, we have built a staff team who believe in our children and ethos. Our staff are regularly supported by volunteers, who are also passionate about supporting opportunities for young people and about nature and the outdoors. 

A big thank you to our nursery staff team, volunteers and everyone for their support!

For more information, please see the specific nursery sections and don’t hesitate to get in touch with any further questions or to arrange a visit! 

We are so pleased to share some comments from the Inspectors Observations following our recent Care Inspectorate inspection at our Forest School Nursery Duffus:

  • The ethos of the Forest School incorporated the right for children to access risk in natural woodland environment.  We saw that children were able to instigate and test helping them to develop the skills to self regulate and build confidence.
  • Staff were friendly, respectful and welcoming towards the children, creating an environment where children were welcomed, happy and assured.  Staff encouraged children to solve a problem and to work things out for themselves with a view to building confidence and self esteem.
  • The sensitive and un assuming interactions of well meaning and motivated staff, helped to make a difference to children’s progression and development.  Staff were motivated and responded with enthusiasm to the children; they had got to know the individual needs of the children well.

Our children said:

  • “water is running down the slope and gravity keeps it there”
  • “we made a seesaw, look its a tree trunk and bark from the tree, I can balance on it and not fall over”

Our parents said:

  • “the service seems to go from strength to strength and communication keeps improving”
  • “I am really happy, staff are approachable and always have time to listen and talk”
  • “my child has developed wonderful relationships with their peers and nursery staff, they are enthusiastic and wonderful”
  • “Earthtime has been amazing opportunity for my child, I am pleased with how they are developing and the affinity to nature and the outdoors”