The Goldie Family

Craighead Farm, Craighead Country Nursery School, East Ayrshire

MAKING the connection among children about where their food comes from is something Craighead Country Nursery School is doing from a young age.

Set up on a beef and sheep farm in Ayrshire, the nursery school was opened in July 2016 by Elspeth Goldie who realised the local area was crying for out for a high quality children’s nursery.

A fact finding trip to Norway was embarked upon to view how they schooled their nursery aged children, and some of that ethos was brought back to Scotland and implemented at Craighead, with a log cabin-style unit being built where a farm building had stood.

With 16 staff and more than 100 children coming to the nursery every week, the nursery enterprise has enabled the Goldies – Elspeth, her husband Michael and his parents James and Fiona – to reinvigorate the core farming enterprise which consists of an 80 cow Limousin and Simmental suckler herd, and 150 head sheep flock.


Elspeth, a qualified teaching professional and mum of two, says: “We have a unique diversification that utilises the skills we have on the farm. We have created a community here in which the two things – nursery and farm – come together.

“The children are always learning about life on farm and the parents often stop and talk to Jimmy and Michael about what is happening on the farm at any one time.”

With plans in place to convert another farm building in order to create additional space for the three to five age group, they are also in the process of opening a ’forest school’ in which children can learn through being in an outdoor setting in some of the farm’s woodland.

Managing keep staff turnover low, Elspeth is passionate about having a nursery in a rural setting and opening children’s eyes to the realities of life on the farm.

“The nursery helps support the farm and allows us to put money back in to that,” she says. “The whole enterprise is very much family oriented in its ethos.”