Gordon MacLean
Early Years & Parenting Officer

“Some of the favourite activities enjoyed are tree climbing, making rope swings, learning about and using fire, and getting covered in mud!”

About Gordon

When did you start working for LtL and what does your job involve?

I joined Grounds for Learning in May 2017.

My main role is leading our Early Years project, Nurturing Nature. In this project we take parents, children and nursery practitioners to areas of local greenspace to engage with nature, develop relationships and enjoy some proper play. Some of the favourite activities enjoyed are tree climbing, making rope swings, learning about and using fire, and getting covered in mud! I also enjoy leading training sessions with groups of practitioners and teachers. I also get to travel all around Scotland, I have met some amazing professionals and seen some beautiful places. In the last year I have been fortunate enough to visit schools in Orkney, Barra and Benbecula!

The 3 experiences that have best equipped you for this role?

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I have worked with children and young people in a variety of roles over the years. I began working with children while still in high school, this led me to study primary teaching at university. I have also worked at multi-sport activity camps and in Out of School Care settings as both practitioner and coordinator.

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I am chairperson and volunteer with Grow 73, a local community growing project in my home town of Rutherglen. I love getting the chance to meet with and work with people in my local community. I am very enthusiastic about the outdoors and the environment, I believe that people of all ages should have the opportunity to explore and engage with these throughout their lives.

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I believe my love for the outdoors and the things I have done there have prepared me for many aspects of this job role. Some of these experiences include wild camping, cooking on open fires at the beach, my time in the Scouts, DofE, and spending many rainy Scottish summers outdoors!

Gordon’s LTL Experience

What has been your best day at LTL and why?

I couldn’t possibly pin down a single “best day”. This may be a cop-out of an answer, but I have had so many great experiences. Seeing families grow together and develop their relationships; working with partners last year from Denmark, Estonia and Slovakia; landing in a plane on the beach of Barra; seeing practitioners develop their confidence, motivation and enthusiasm for the outdoors. These are all definitely at the top of my list of “best days”!!

Why an axe, knives and wooden spoons?

This was another incredibly difficult question to answer. I love being outside with my dog Ben, hanging in my hammock on a wild camp, riding my bike and attempting to kitesurf in the choppy Scottish seas. I finally decided to share a picture of my “sharp things” – my axe, carving knife and spoon knife. Working with greenwood is fantastic. I love the creative process involved in turning a chunk of wood into something much more refined. The process is one that allows me to get close to my work and learn more about some traditional skills. I have had to learn to keep each blade sharp so that it does its job properly. I find greenwood working a physically tiring and a very mindful process. I love that it lets me completely detach from the busy world around me, work with natural materials and spend time with other likeminded individuals.

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