Mindstretchers is a training consultancy based in Perthshire, Scotland. We believe that children should have access to natural learning resources and that they should be able to lead their own learning. Through our training and resources we hope to share this philosophy with anyone working with children. All of our training can be applied to children from birth to 11. Above all else, we want to see children receiving the best education possible in a multi-sensory environment. We hope to share our positive attitude.
Our underlying philosophy has been developed by Claire Warden, an international speaker, educator, and director of the company. The majority of our training has been developed by Claire and mostly cover the Talking and Thinking Floorbooks Approach®, nature pedagogy and outdoor learning through our Journeys into Nature™ courses, or courses designed to raise attainment. We also offer coaching in context, in which one of our trainers will come to your setting and help you improve your practice.
The philosophies for our training have been developed at Auchlone Nature Kindergarten, our outdoor centre for excellence, winner of NMT’s Learning Environment of the Year 2016 and finalist for Nursery World’s Nursery of the Year 2016. You can now visit Auchlone on our Nature Kindergarten Days.
To support training we also offer a key range of products at our Shop. This ranges from our iconic Floorbook™ (and the rest of the floorbook approach) to outdoor products such as wood whittlers and fire strikers. You will also be able to find books and publications written by Claire Warden.
To further support your learning we offer short online training courses which should take roughly one hour. We also now have downloadable lesson planners at our TES Resource Shop to help you on a day-to-day basis.
To lead inspirational learning; inside, outside and beyond.
To deliver expert knowledge, skills, and products around the world to improve learning experiences for children.
We are enthusiastic, knowledgeable, customer-focused and quality-focused. We will always act with integrity and aim to be innovative and inspirational.
Claire Warden’s approach to nature kindergartens has earned her international recognition as a pioneer in educational thinking. Her respect for children and families runs through the Floorbook approach that she developed. It is often used within Nature Pedagogy to incorporate children’s voices into intentional teaching. Claire Warden is one of the world’s leading consultants and writers on the use of consultative methods in education. She also works internationally under her own name and has been widely acknowledged for her expertise.
Auchlone Nature Kindergarten
The term ‘nature kindergarten’ defines our approach to naturalistic, wild spaces that provide children with a landscape in which to play and learn outdoors. Auchlone Nature Kindergarten has been operating since 2008 and underpins our business. It is renowned in the UK as a centre for excellence and acts as an exemplar in nature pedagogy and consultative techniques for children. In 2016 Auchlone won the NMT Outdoor Learning Environment of the Year Award and was a finalist for Nursery World's Nursery of the Year award.
Living Classrooms & the International Association of Nature Pedagogy
Living Classrooms is a Community Interest Company (CIC) which is supported by Mindstretchers Ltd. It was originally established as a charitable company in 2010 and was set up to deliver educational programmes for a diverse range of client groups, including children's centres, adult community groups and schools. One of its principal activities from this time was the hosting and support of the Forest Education Initiative - Forest School Co-ordinator (Scotland) post.
In April 2016 it established the International Association of Nature Pedagogy, a professional organisation which aims to promote and support all forms of nature-based education and associated activity and research around the world.The association seeks to connect people across the planet to benefit nature pedagogy and practice.
Erasmus+ Project 2015 - 2018
Partners: Czech Republic, England, Norway, Scotland
The Erasmus+ Project is an international partnership of four cultures which explores ways of using nature as a powerful tool for learning.
- The project will explore the similarities and different ways we are conducting educational practice in our home countries using nature.
- We want to create an inspirational base that will share good ideas in how to establish, and develop high levels of good practice in nature kindergartens.
- Create a contact point for good practice using video evidence and documentation to inspire others to see the values and benefits of learning in and with nature.