At long last, outdoor nurseries and kindergartens are getting some official encouragement in Scotland. Pioneers like the Secret Garden in Fife and about a dozen others have offered an alternative to indoor early life for over a decade. But now Inspiring Scotland’s been funded by the Scottish Government to work with eight councils setting up new outdoor play projects. The need to get kids moving and enjoying outdoor activity is urgent. Two years ago, a study of 38 nations ranked Scotland joint last for physical activity, while childhood obesity levels here continue to rise, with a quarter of five-year-olds deemed to be at risk of becoming seriously overweight. So what does the future look like? Maybe a bit like Norwegian kindergarten today – minus the snow. So here’s a sample of how confident and cooperative children get when they aren’t cooped up indoors all day. It’s a wee film I made nine years ago, in Arctic Norland, just before Nordic Horizons’ first event. Thanks to local outdoor coordinator Wenche Roening and the Norwegian Consulate in Scotland who financed the filming.
If you’d like to find out more, there’s audio, powerpoint and a short film about Turid Boholm’s Nordic Horizons talk in June 2018. She runs the Bukkespranget Outdoor kindergarten in Tromso. Bukkespranget means the “kid goat’s leap” – and describes the small but adventurous steps the children are encouraged to take every day.