Learning outdoors on Pirate Island with Newtonmore English Medium Nursery.

The staff and children at Newtonmore English Medium nursery have embraced learning outdoors this session. Their weekly visits to Pirate Island provide a vast range of opportunities to learn and develop across the curriculum. Here is how it all came about …

“Pirate Island was created during lockdown when we did a live treasure hunt on our messenger meet for the children following a story about Pirates in Pyjamas. The children had never visited our special place until August when they remembered the place as our pirate treasure Island. Pirate Peeps is the affectionate name some of the children use. We have some amazing adventures there where the children take the lead in their own learning.”

“I like going and splashing in the water and I play with the sand.”

Developing fine motor skills collecting stones from the water with tweezers. “Stone fishes in the tub in the water.”

Exploring volume and what happens to the water level when you add stones to your container.

“I like going splashing in the water.”

“We were making our boats go in the tiny pool but mine was sinking.”

“I like going to Pirate Island and do taking to make stripes in the sand.”
“Patterns and we play counting the stones.”


“Digging in the sand for treasure.”

Exploring with sand and water. Look what happened!

“We go there all the time I love it.”

“Big stones and little ones make big and little splashes.”

“Getting water.”

“Dig sand and make ice cream.”

Making friends and playing together.
Developing gross motor skills such as balancing.

The children are experiencing a wealth of opportunities to develop in all areas of the curriculum and thrive on spending time outdoors. A few more comments from the children that help demonstrate this include; “The weather is wet and sunny and rainy”, “Rain makes the river bigger”, “It goes fast and slow the water”, and “Eating ham sandwiches on Pirate Island.”

Staff said they were a bit unsure at the very start, but seeing how much the kids love being outdoors especially on Pirate Island they have embraced the outdoor learning as much if not more than them! “As staff we want them to learn and thrive in all weathers as safely as we all can where possible”.

“We are completely confident but that’s because we know our children well. We all now know the areas we visit – the children are aware of the boundaries and the safety and risk elements in each place. We weigh up the risk benefits and allow the children to explore and investigate as safely as possible with as little or as much adult intervention as they need. Most of the time there isn’t any needed. Outdoor learning has opened a wealth of learning opportunities for us all, and yes, most of the time we love it”.