Film: Outdoor kindergarten in Arctic Norway

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. Five 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 sa...Read More

4. Podcast: Get oot to play – school can wait

How would you measure success in the early years of a child’s education? In the Bukkespranget Norwegian kindergarten (where children aged 1-6 play outdoors in all weathers) they ask two simple questions. Does the child ask for more and do the parents tell stories? Note – no tests. All this play contrasts with Scotland’s formal school-based education for 5 year-olds – even though academic research shows children learn sharing, communication, cooperation, creativity and confidence  long before they can sit still enough to begin formal education. The urge to stuff the three R’s into 4 and 5 year-old brains may be understandable in a competitive, dog-eat-dog world – but it’s not rational, helpful, productive or kind. Certainly, at seven the ‘force-fed’ kids of Scotland ...Read More

Scotland’s Missing Wood Cabins

Scotland’s Missing Wood Cabins The full session which was hosted by the Festival of Politics in the Scottish Parliament is available below as an audio podcast. Introduced by the Chair of the Scottish Finnish Society , Mikko Ramstedt, there were good presentations followed by a lively question and answer session. It lasts 96 minutes.Norway has the hytta. Sweden has the sommerhus. Finland has the stuga. Russia has the dacha. New Zealand has the bach. Canada and the United States have cabins. Scotland alone in Northern Latitudes seems to have virtually no hut, cabin or modest second home tradition. Why and does it matter? Journalist and Nordic Horizons Director Lesley Riddoch compared the “hut traditions” of Norway and Scotland. Land campaigner Andy Wightman described hut bu...Read More


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