Outdoor Play for children, by children

The sound of laughter rings out from the clearing in the trees. Half a dozen children - mud-spattered, smiling - charge across the space in pursuit of only they know what.

They leap, shriek, slip and slide before collapsing in a heap beside the fire pit for a hot chocolate and a 'Smore: a reward for a hard day's play and an energy boost for the journey back to the Hub.

At Outdoor Cleghorn, based to the east of Lanark, we allow children to be themselves and to play however they choose. We bring together our knowledge and experience of working with children with our strongly held belief in the value and benefit of free, unstructured play in its purest form.

We also believe in the need to uphold the right to an education that all children have and, in particular an education which develops their personalities, respect for others’ rights and the environment. We support teachers in developing their skills to do this and children for whom school may not be the best place.

Unstructured play in its purest form

We don't organise activities or themes for our days. We don't tell the children what to do - we also don't tell them what not to do! We let them decide what they want to do.

If they want to build dens, they can. If they want to climb trees, they can. If they want to wallow in mud, water or a combination of both, they can and almost certainly will. We are there to support them in their play, to provide them with the space in which they can and to encourage them to consider the risks that they are likely to take.

We will provide them with ropes and tarpaulins, knives and saws but only if they want them. We will answer their questions, foster their curiosity but will, above all let them play however they choose.