Mulleborg – an Outdoor Swedish Pre-school

7 September 2011 · 3 comments

in Developing School Grounds & Outdoor Spaces, Early Years Outdoors, International

Mulleborg is a Swedish outdoor pre-school. This means that the children who attend will spend at least 80% of their time outside, all-year round in all weathers. For more information have a look at this case study and the Rain or Shine report which I wrote after visiting this nursery and several others in October 2008.

However I thought you might be interested in a wee tour of the outdoor space at Mulleborg. It was a beautiful August day and the grounds were looking lovely…

Here’s the entrance which is rarely used. The children are dropped off round the back in the outside space every morning.

Those are blackcurrant bushes alongside the building. Perfect for making fresh syrup to go with pancakes!
As you walk round the side, you pass the vegetable plots. Food harvested is used in snacks and for lunches.

This is the view round the back. There are several sandpits, natural rock outcrops and trees providing shade, shelter and climbing opportunities!

The drying paintings hide the home for all the hobby horses which children use for playing all around the grounds.

This is the back entrance. (I’ll blog about the indoor space in another post). Look at the child-friendly welly boot remover propping open the door. Check out the extra hooks on the outside wall for wet clothes. There is also an outside and inside mat for wiping boots – a very good system for managing outdoor clothes and shoes in all weathers.

The chickens are back! The children help feed and look after these birds on a daily basis.

This is the steep smooth rock slope at the other side of the house. It’s a much quieter place to play.

The pathway past the gardening patch leads to other parts of the garden. There are more berries such as raspberries for children to forage.

As you can imagine, the outdoor space is extensive. The dry stream now has a pump and running water, thanks to parent who knows about installing these.

The climbing frame is popular with children of all ages. Everyone clambers all over it. The structures in the grounds have all been made by parents who volunteer their time one Saturday each month to maintain the nursery.

I do believe every boat deserves an after-life in a school or nursery outdoor space. They are always much-loved and well-used by children.

This view gives you an idea of the space. 34 children aged 2-6yrs attend this kindergarten.

The sand pit in the photo below, is the second one in the outside area. The nearby boxes of equipment and resources can be used by children as they wish.

This gathering place is for the younger children, with a little tree to climb nearby.

The bush on the other side of the area has poisonous berries. Instead of removing the bush as a “hazard”, the children know not to eat these berries. It is part of learning how to manage in the real world.

The shelter beside the fire pit is used as an outdoor sleeping area for the youngest children in finer weather. There are strict rules around the use of the fire pit which everyone follows.

Throughout the area are places for children to play together or alone. The variety of structures and space is fantastic. Although some areas look worn, there is new life and growth all around.

This is the oldest outdoor pre-school in Sweden. Long may the sound of children playing and laughing be heard coming from these grounds. They love their right to play – outdoors!

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Males in Early Childhood September 8, 2011 at 10:24

What a wonderful collection of spaces that go together to create an inviting service. I love that most of the time is spent outdoors. A Norwegian study found that more men were willing to work in their outdoor preschools to the point where around 20% of employees were male compared to 4-5% in regular preschools. Seeing the fellow in one of the photos may well put further substance to that conclusion. Anything that can encourage more guys to work with young children is a definite plus for the children, families & the industry.

Thanks for sharing.


DeLynn September 23, 2011 at 15:37

This is like camping everyday! I love it.


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