Natural Learning Early Childhood Consultancy was established in 2015 by Sue Robertson, Beryl Mort and Niki Buchan. The team is based in Australia and also work internationally.
International Educational Consultant and Child Care Services Manager
With a biomedical background, Niki has lived and worked in South Africa, Scotland and has been calling Australia home since 2011. She has a great love for the outdoors and has been working with both adults and young children in very consultative, naturalistic environments both indoors and outdoors for more than 38 years. She is an award winning author, has vast experience working directly with children and educators as an educator, pedagogical leader, head of centres, as well as founder and owner of her own child care and education centres.
She works internationally as a conference keynote speaker, nature pedagogue, mentor and author and has been invited to work in the UK, USA, Canada, Iceland, Sweden, South Korea, China, New Zealand, Norway, Denmark and South Africa. Niki has developed a reputation as a strong advocate for children’s right to a high-quality childhood with a deep concern about children’s mental health and trauma. She trusts children as being capable and competent and believes children have a right to regular access to nature and to have their voices heard in matters that affect them. She is considered a leading voice in promoting Nature-based practice and is the author of “Children in Wild Nature”, adapted for the UK as “A Practical Approach to Nature-based Practice” translated into Chinese for China. She is also the author of “Adventurous Play”and co-author of STEM Detectives and the "Look, Look, Look Again" series of seasonal books. She has been commissioned to write a book on Behaviour and Well-being due to be published soon.
Niki is the proud mother of four adult children and 4 delightful grandchildren, an adventurer and keen photographer seldom seen without a camera in her hand!
Sue is an Early Childhood Education Teacher and her first posting was to a remote West Kimberly town of Derby in Western Australia. This was very rural and children played in the vivid red dirt which inspired her love of nature and the outdoors.
Sue left teaching and travelled the world before having her son and then went on to manage a Family Day Care Service in the South West of WA. Sue believes children thrive in small groups where they can access normal daily experiences, build resilience and become confident individuals. She is a partner and manages the privately owned Nature Alliance Family Day Care Service
Beryl originally worked in the finance industry for ten years before starting her own Family Day care business when her 2 sons were young. She has remained in the industry and continued to work in both administrative and support roles. Beryl has also lectured at TAFE and mentored students in the field.
Beryl also comes from a rural background and has many memories of wide open spaces, playing in the creek and catching tadpoles, climbing trees, building cubbies, picking wild flowers, playing with the farm animals and being surrounded by a nurturing family. This rural environment was the greatest playground ever and Beryl believes all children can thrive if given the opportunity and especially if immersed in nature. She is a partner and manages the privately owned Nature Alliance Family Day Care Service.
David Buchan is our Resource Manager and comes from a sales and marketing background in South Africa, Scotland and Australia. He is the person with the Scottish accent you are most likely to speak to when you have any questions about resources.
Niki Buchan Natural Learning Australian Learning Tracks Bush, Forest and Beach School Education Australia Nature-based Pedagogy International
Nature Alliance Family Day Care Service
Niki is the Pedagogical Leader for Nature Alliance Family Day Care Service where she supports the senior management team and educators throughout WA with curriculum requirements, regulations, documentation and nature based practice.
Where Children Can Be Children. At Nature Alliance we believe children learn by playing within the natural environment. Educators are encouraged to incorporate the natural elements into their program wherever possible including sand and mud, water, stones, rocks, wood and the wide open spaces. Find out more
Cosy Direct Resource Company
Cosy promotes a natural, engaged and active childhood by supplying sustainable nursery and educational equipment worldwide. As a home of new ideas, they are continually innovating and developing new product range with teacher led research & play in mind. Niki advises the team on specialist products and resources and we are Research and Development Partners.
Cosy are champions of rural and real-life childhoods, where children are encouraged to play and take part in adventurous activities that enable them to learn and develop whilst having fun. Find out more
First Door Training Company
First Door provides quality Nationally Recognised Training for Early Childhood career qualifications. The First Doorteam are dedicated to supporting the professional growth of educators and teams, so that they are inspired and equipped to provide exceptional Early Childhood education and care.
Niki’s partnership with First Door was formed through our connection in advocating for children to have a quality and natural childhood, with the right to play and learn outdoors in nature. Our work promotes children to be trusted as capable so they are active learners, with the support of skilled educators. Niki is a contributor to First Door’s online courses for professional learning and Early Childhood qualifications. We also have exciting plans to develop an Outdoor Natural Learning course together, to support educators with purpose and skills to get more children engaged in natural learning outdoors. Find out more
Walker Early Life Foundations
Walker Learning is Australia‘s first major play and project-based holistic pedagogy. It is internationally acclaimed and has been implemented for over 20 years across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. It is an intentional teaching and learning approach for children in their early childhood and primary years.
The Walker Learning Approach is not an inquiry model or program that is separated from other curriculum areas. Instead, is a total approach teaching and learning tool that provides a unique balance between the children being active participants in their learning and explicit instruction. Find out more
Niki acts as an expert outdoor learning consultant participating in and contributing to relevant online events.
Keeping it Simply Smart
Noel Jensen has worked in the Education and Care sector for over 30 years. With experience in Child Care, Kindergarten, Family Day Care, Education Department portfolios and as a lecturer and assessor. He is a facilitator and mentor to many in the sector. Noel has presented at international and national conferences and many many workshops. Noel has a passion nature education and the use of natural materials. He owns and is the creative director of Keeping It Simply Smart, a small country Australian business focusing on the use of natural materials that are both educational and fun for children. Perfectly Imperfect