Virtual Nature School is a service offered by the non-profit Living Classrooms. It came about as a direct response to the needs of families when schools and nurseries were closed in the UK in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and continues as a valuable resource to early years practitioners throughout Scotland as they make outdoor learning a natural part of their practice.


Living Classrooms is a registered Community Interest Company founded by Dr Claire Warden in 2010 and has the following aims:

  • To promote excellence in play and learning, through innovative, nature-based experiences.
  • To develop the capacity in communities through play and learning outdoors.

More information about Living Classrooms can be found on its website here.


Dr Claire Warden is an educational consultant who has developed her approach to Nature Pedagogy in her doctoral research and experiential learning through a variety of experiences including working in a variety of settings including her own multi-award-winning nature kindergarten Auchlone, advisory work, and lecturing in further education. Claire is currently based in Scotland but frequently travels to Australia, the United States and elsewhere.

Claire is an author of over 20 books relating to early years methodology. Claire’s book, Learning with Nature – Embedding Outdoor Practice, was well received and has gained a place as required reading on many academic education courses. In her book 'Nature Kindergartens and Forest Schools' Claire explores children's connection to nature and naturalistic spaces such as forest schools, forest kindergartens, woodland camps, nature kindergartens.

Claire is closely involved with her own nature kindergarten, Auchlone Nature Kindergarten, in Scotland. This outdoor nursery works with children from 2-6 year olds, who spend up to 90% of their time outside. The three spaces of ‘inside’, ‘outside’ and ‘beyond’ are mindfully linked to develop skills and confidence in a predominantly natural environment.

In addition to Claire’s international and consultancy work, she runs a Community Interest Company, 'Living Classrooms', through which the Virtual Nature School is being delivered. Additionally she set up the International Association of Nature Pedagogy, a professional organisation designed to promote and support all forms of nature-based education for children aged 0 - 8 years throughout the world. This includes Forest Kindergartens, Forest Schools, Nature Pre-Schools and Nature Kindergartens. 

Claire is one of a leadership group of consultants who make up the World Nature Collaborative, a working party of the World Forum Foundation. The purpose of the group is to develop a cohesive network and approach to experiential learning in outdoor spaces in a variety of climates. The nature collaborative brings together educators, landscape architects, environmentalists and health workers to support a multidisciplinary approach to outdoor educational provision.