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Great leaders of small people

A nature nursery and a team driving a Froebel revival scoop honours at the Nursery World Awards. Emma Seith reports

A nature nursery and a team driving a Froebel revival scoop honours at the Nursery World Awards. Emma Seith reports

Scottish nurseries and early years practitioners have scooped some of the top accolades in early education at the Nursery World Awards in London last month.

The Cottage Kindergarten, a private nursery in Helensburgh that describes itself as a nature nursery with an emphasis on discovery learning and outdoor play, was named Nursery of the Year. And five Edinburgh nursery headteachers driving a Froebel revival in the capital and beyond won the Equipment - Staff Resources category for their book Early Childhood Practice: Froebel today, edited by Tina Bruce, professor of early childhood studies at the University of Roehampton.

The five heads - Lynn McNair of the Cowgate Under-5s Centre; Stella Brown of Tynecastle Nursery School; Chris McCormick of Cameron House Nursery School; Jane Whinnett of Balgreen Nursery School and Maureen Baker, retired headteacher of Children's House Nursery School - started a network several years ago to promote the approaches used by kindergarten founder Friedrich Froebel. They were also instrumental in setting up the Froebel in Early Childhood Education course at the Moray House School of Education.

In their book, the Edinburgh nursery heads and other distinguished practitioners demonstrate how they have used educational methods advocated by Froebel in contemporary settings.

Nursery World, a weekly early years magazine and former sister publication of TESS, praised the Cottage Kindergarten for "the tireless way" the head and staff work, their accessibility and their attention to detail. Each individual was "understood and appreciated", they added.

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