MAKI Pups is ACT's new outdoor nursery service. The outdoor nursery will be based at Kilmory walled garden in Lochgilphead and will provide up to 24 nursery places for 3 – 5-year olds. We aim to open the nursery in August 2020 and will follow the guidance from Scottish Government and Argyll and Bute Council about the best staffing ratio and operating models to adopt.

Guided by Inspiring Scotland, Argyll and Bute Council’s Early Years Team, and the Care Inspectorate, ACT is developing a service which will enable children in Mid Argyll to experience fully outdoor pre-school education in an adventurous yet safe environment. Which is needed now more than ever after our children have spent many weeks in lock-down and are desperate to explore and play!

We are currently able to accept applications for places, subject to us being granted Care Inspectorate registration, so if you would like to apply for a place for your child at Mid Argyll's first outdoor nursery then please download and return our enquiry form here.

We will be offering competitive prices for wrap-around care and school holidays. Our team will work with families to find the opening days and ELC funded session patterns that work best for everyone.  Please contact Erin Kennedy our Nursery Manager for more information: [email protected]   

What’s our vision?

To provide the first fully outdoor nursery in Mid-Argyll.

We will work with 3 - 5 year-olds, and their families, from Lochgilphead and the surrounding area to develop an appreciation and ownership of their natural environment, the ability to understand and enjoy the adventures and challenges that outdoor learning offers, and to work with partners and the community to encourage intergenerational learning and shared opportunities.

At MAKI Pups Outdoor Nursery children will be responsible for making decisions about their learning using resources from the world around them and a wide range of open-ended loose parts play. The children will be supported in their learning by qualified and experienced practitioners who will use floor books and online journals to document and record learning. 

The team will use the Curriculum for Excellence and other national framework and documentation to provide a curriculum based on the seven design principles and promoting inclusion for all. 

Covid19 Update

We are closely following the national and regional guidance about when and how we can open MAKI Pups.  Outdoor settings are playing a crucial role in getting our communities back out to work and education.  We will keep families up to date on every step of our journey towards the new normal.  

We loved the recent statement from Rachel Cowper,  Inspiring Scotland's Thrive Outdoors Programme Manager "As we move out of lockdown, the use of the outdoors can provide space for social distancing and opportunities for learning. Moving more can address sedentary behaviours and improve physical health. Outdoor and natural spaces benefit our mental health. These are surely things we all want while we look to recover as a society and build resilience for the future.

If there is an emerging acceptance that what has worked in the past will not necessarily be good for the future, then now is the time to decide whether we need to return to the ‘old normal’. Clearly, where outdoor spaces are concerned, the ‘new normal’ has the potential to be so much better."

The site

Our nursery will be in Kilmory Walled Garden, adjacent to Argyll and Bute Council’s headquarters. The garden is a treasure trove of well-established plants and trees with a range of spaces waiting to be explored and enjoyed. The areas identified for the outdoor nursery include an established woodland, an open lawn, an avenue of trees, and an enclosed area with raised beds. The site is owned by Argyll and Bute Council who will maintain and improve existing facilities and provide a new “hobbit house” shelter and water-less toilets.

The site provides children with opportunities to explore, discover and learn in a safe environment.

We will also be encouraging children to care for our environment and hope that this respect and responsibility will carry on outwith the nursery site and out into the wider community and beyond.

Our team

We have assembled a great team of nursery practitioners with a wealth and variety of experience. Find out more about our team members in our Meet the Team section here

The team is led by our Nursery Manager, Erin Kennedy. If you would like to chat or need further information about anything please get in touch with Erin by email: [email protected] or telephone: 07741582560

What are the benefits of outdoor playing and learning?

At MAKI Pups Outdoor Nursery we are passionate about the positive impact, both physically and emotionally, that being outdoors can have on even our youngest children. 

We want the best for our children as they start on their journey in to lifelong learning with us and strongly believe that our outdoor environment will provide children with the opportunity to grow, learn and develop in to young people and adults who care for, respect and appreciate their world and everything in it.

National position statement

We will 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.”

Inspiring Scotland, the Scottish Government and over 100 other signatories have committed to life-enhancing outdoor play and learning for all of Scotland’s children and young people by:

  • Widening access to the high-quality, diverse greenspaces and natural landscapes that exist throughout all our communities to ensure that all children, young people and families have easy, local access to excellent outdoor play.
  • Opening up more of our communal and publicly managed spaces for learning outdoors, ensuring that children and young people know they are entitled to access these spaces and feel safe and comfortable using them.
  • Enhancing and enriching urban greenspace and built environments to be inviting, play-friendly places, offering easy access to the outdoors and nature close to home.
  • Empowering every adult involved in the lives of our children and young people with the confidence, enthusiasm and skills to encourage and support them to play and learn outdoors.
  • Generating and sharing knowledge and evidence-based research to promote better understanding of the benefits of playing and learning outdoors.

More information on the national position statement and commitment from signatories can be found here: Scotlands_Coalition_for_Outdoor_Play_and_Learning_Position_Statement.pdf