Banner image photo credit: Lynn Henni

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.

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.

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.

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.

What are the benefits of outdoor playing and learning?

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

We are looking for a skilled, experienced and enthusiastic person to lead this exciting project.  We are inviting applications for the post of MAKI Pups Nursery Manager, closing date for applications is Thursday 5th December.

Job Specification and application form can be downloaded here.  Please email Julie Young if you'd like to discuss any aspect of the job or our proposals.