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 Spring 2020 with an initial 16 places, staffed at a maximum 1:8 ratio.

We are currently advertising for Nursery Practitioners, full details on our news page.

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.

We now have our MAKI Pups Nursery Manager in place and are working closely with Inspiring Scotland, the Care Inspectorate and Argyll and Bute Council to get the nursery ready to open soon. 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 get in touch.

We will be offering 1140 hours of ELC funding for 38 weeks of the year and we will also be offering wrap around care outwith the funded sessions and in the school holidays. Blended and part-time places are more than welcome too; email Erin 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. 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. 

The site

The 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 will be looking to hire practitioners soon, so if you have a passion for outdoor learning then we would love to hear from you. Please get in touch with our Nursery Manager, Erin Kennedy. Email: [email protected] or telephone: 07741582560

Please keep checking our website to download the application and job specification when it is available.

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 objectives

The Scottish Government has committed to delivering 1,140 hours of funded nursery hours for all 3 to 5-year olds and eligible 2-year-old children by August 2020. This will nearly double funded provision and will bring huge benefits for children and families. Argyll and Bute Council have committed to offer 50% of this provision outdoors.

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