Riverside Nature Pedagogy Convention

Saturday 28th September 2019

Pedagogy & practice in the changing Early Years landscape in Scotland.


In association with

Dr Lynn McNair, Cowgate Under 5s Centre

Niki Buchan, Natural Learning

Carol Murdoch,Love Outdoor Learning.

Not to be missed! A chance to meet, listen to and speak with the most inspiring and influential industry experts as they examine the role of nature-based practice and outdoor learning in the changing early years' landscape in Scotland - and how these methods contribute towards addressing the attainment gap.

Due to an increasing emphasis on accountability in early learning and care, we will also present a Frobelian model for using authentic, rather than ‘tick box’ assessment processes, to document children’s progress toward the National Improvement Framework and inform curriculum planning. The lived story approach is greatly valued by the Care Inspectorate, and this will soon be evidenced in the new document, Care and Compassion (led by Henry Mathias, Strategic Lead – Standards for Health and Social Care).


The Convention will be hosted by Luke Addison, manager of Riverside Cottage Nursery, a pioneering outdoors childcare setting in West Lothian which features in the important My World Outdoors document. The setting is visited annually by international education experts as an example of best practice because Manager Luke Addison and his team draw from alternative pedagogies, including Froebel, to shape the unique ethos at Riverside. Luke speaks both nationally and internationally and lectures on the BA in Childhood Practice at the University of Edinburgh.

Niki has a great love for the outdoors and has been working with both adults and young children in very consultative, naturalistic and sensorial environments both indoors and outdoors for more than 35 years. She works internationally as a conference keynote speaker, nature pedagogue, mentor and author and has developed a reputation as a strong advocate for children’s right to a high-quality childhood with a deep concern about children’s mental health and trauma. She trusts children as being capable and competent including their ability to assess and take their own risks. Niki believes children have a right to regular access to nature and to have their voices heard in matters that affect them. She is considered a leading voice in promoting nature-based practice and is the author of “Children in Wild Nature”, “A Practical Approach to Nature-based Practice” and “Adventurous Play” with a STEM book in the pipeline.

Senior Education Consultant, Natural Learning

Niki Buchan

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Lynn McNair.jpg

Dr Lynn McNair is Head of Cowgate Under Fives Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is a Teaching Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Lynn has more than 30 years’ experience working in Early Years Education and was awarded an OBE for services to Early Education in 2009. Lynn is a trained Froebelian, attaining her certificate at the Froebel Institute, Roehampton University, London, UK. She is an award-winning author. Finally, Lynn would say her passion for egalitarianism, emancipation, democracy and a belief that children are rich, active, resourceful beings came from being a mother to Kurt and Mischa; and what she learned as she observed them playing freely as children. This way of being with children, trusting in them in their abilities and capabilities is where she puts her energy into her work with children today.

Head of Cowgate Under 5s Centre & Snr. Teaching fellow at University of Edinburgh

Dr Lynn McNair

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Carol Murdoch of Love Outdoor learning.j

Love Outdoor Learning was founded by Carol Murdoch, an experienced and passionate outdoor learning practitioner. She has worked as a primary teacher for over a decade, completing numerous outdoor courses and is completing a Masters degree in this subject area at the University of Edinburgh. Carol is also a member of the Institute of Outdoor Learning. She says: “When I think of my youth, I remember being outside, playing and exploring. It taught me a wealth of skills I still use today. I aim to give all children who attend our sessions the same opportunities.”

Owner, Love Outdoor Learning

Carol Murdoch

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11am - Doors open

11.15am - Registration; arrival refreshments

11.30am - Welcome by Luke Addison

11.45 - 12.30pm - Niki Buchan, Natural Learning: A common-sense approach to supporting children to challenge themselves, plus, risk management in an early years context.

12.30pm - Lunch (allergies and free from catered for)

1.30pm - Luke Addison & Dr Lynn McNair: Lived stories and a Froebelian approach to documenting children’s experiences, plus their relevance to the Care Inspectorate and the standards set within the National Improvement Framework of literacy, numeracy and health and well-being.

2.15pm - Carol Murdoch, Love Outdoor Learning: Carol will cover the explosion of outdoor learning and why it enhances learning for children, as well as improving the educational experience for both children and teachers/practitioners. Delegates will undertake a range of hands-on activities, gaining new ideas to take home and try in their own setting.


3pm - Discussion, networking and tour of nursery grounds

4pm - Close

Limited parking for around 30 cars is available on site; please car share.


Please dress for being outdoors regardless of the weather including waterproofs and boots/wellies as most sessions will take place outside.

01506 650583

9 Riverside Lea, Blackburn, Bathgate, West Lothian,  EH47 7EL, UK

©2018 by Riverside Cottage Nursery