Inspirational Outdoors 2018 – a two-day conference

The conference is hosted by Niki Willows – Outdoor Play Consultant and Trainer, and Martin Besford – owner and manager of the Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ outdoor nursery, Highway Farm.

Following some excellent feedback from 2017, we are pleased to bring you our 2018 conference. The most popular request from last year was for the conference to be longer. We have listened and are giving you a whole two days. We may release day tickets in the new year if we have capacity.

This conference is aimed at Primary staff (Heads, Teachers and Teaching Assistants), Early Years Practitioners, Home Educators, After School and Holiday Club Managers and their staff. We’re also more than happy for interested practitioners in other fields to attend. During the sessions we hope that you will share your knowledge with others.

Workshops will be added to this page as we book them.

The aims of the conference are:

  • To enable your staff team to collect practical, low cost or no-cost ideas which they will be able to take away and start using today
  • To enable practitioners to develop high quality outdoor learning environments which will have a positive impact on children and staff
  • To provide practical and hands-on workshops, backed up with research and evidence about the benefits of outdoor play and learning
  • This conference will cover many aspects of outdoor learning including:
    • Logistics of getting out of the classroom/setting
    • Increasing staff confidence outdoors
    • Create exciting learning opportunities outdoors
    • A wealth of practical ideas and activities linked to the curriculum
    • Professional development and upskilling
    • Evidencing outcomes within Outdoor Learning
    • Resources
    • Links, support and advice

The venue is Mount Pleasant Ecological Park which has been developed over the last 10 years as a unique community resource, all set within 42 acres of organic farmland, in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the north Cornish coast. If you are interested in buildings, the Eco-Park has the largest load-bearing rammed earth structure in the UK; a tyre amphitheatre; a walled fire circle and covered courtyard. A perfect location for this inspirational training opportunity.

Running order –

Day One

Keynote – Niki Willows – Outdoor Play Consultant ”Making The Most of Your Outdoor Space”

Niki was previously Play Development Advisor for Wiltshire Council, and has lectured on Outdoor Play for Early Years & Childcare degree courses. She also has run Forest School training. She now lives and works in Cornwall running outdoor play sessions for families, has a licence from Cornwall Council to run school Beach Teach sessions and continues to create CPD opportunities for school and nursery staff.

Quest with Phil Waters

Phil Waters was a PhD student at the European Centre Environment & Human Health analysing the use of narrative as a means to engage children playfully in the natural environment.

Throughout his career Phil has worked with thousands of children in many different contexts using play as both a vehicle for transformation, while also valuing and celebrating its intrinsic value in children’s daily life experiences. Phil has written and delivered various playwork training programmes in the UK and the USA.

Collectively all these elements conspired to make the content for Phil’s PhD; the use of narrative as a means to engage children playfully in the natural environment, with ambitions of increasing their physical activity and their ecological literacy and altruism for the natural world.

Vegetarian lunch

Workshops 1 & 2

Q & A – Close

Early evening – weather dependant, inspirational chat around the campfire in The Small Wood or on Porthtowan Beach. Skill sharing and networking opportunity.

Day Two

Keynote – Martin Besford – Owner of Highway Farm Activity Centre

Highway Farm – The Outdoor Journey. “ Passion, Possibilities and Perseverance “

Martin Besford has a background in Early years, primary education, outdoor pursuits and play work. Martin has delivered training for Cornwall County Council, Playlines, Playwork Partnerships and the University of Gloucester, leading him to develop, write and deliver training independently. Martin has more recently delivered various training abroad and has been asked to deliver a keynote speech at a conference in America next year for David Sobel.
Previously Martin has worked in various roles across play and education and in 2006 he started Highway Farm Activity Centre with just a farmer’s field offering outdoor holiday play schemes. Now it is a centre classed by Ofsted as ‘ Outstanding ‘ providing an outdoor nursery, holiday play scheme and after school club, in an exceptionally nurturing outdoor environment. Martin also offers training and consultancy to schools, nurseries and the wider education sector.

Workshops 1 & 2

Vegetarian lunch

Grand Finale

You will choose your workshops as you arrive each day. This will be on a first-come first-served basis.

Please dress for the glorious Cornish weather – this could mean sunscreen, or full waterproofs, or most likely- both! Please be prepared.

Outdoor Numeracy and Literacy Training Course

Join us to explore a range of outdoor activity ideas focused on delving into the National Curriculum outdoors.
Ideal for those working at EYFS, KS1 & KS2 with opportunities to differentiate as needed.
Take away; ideas, confidence, written session plans, supporting risk assessments and some basic resources.
Just wish to attend half a day for one topic or the other? no problem, please let us know when you book.

Nature Kindergarten Day at award-winning Auchlone

Auchlone Nature Kindergarten is a multi award-winning early years centre for 2-5 year olds in Perthshire where children spend over 85% of their time outdoors.

Our Nature Kindergarten Day includes a visit to Auchlone with an exploration of the ethos and methodology of Nature Pedagogy as developed by Dr Claire Warden. We’ll provide an in-depth tour of the areas of inside the setting, outside in the landscaped environment and beyond the gate into wilder spaces, explaining the thinking behind our practice. There will be ample opportunities for questions, sharing experiences and discussing specific situations. We’ll address a wide range of practical issues linked to outdoor learning.

Our Senior Trainer and/or Auchlone Manager will share their wide breadth of knowledge regarding all aspects of running a Nature Kindergarten and adjust the content of the visit according to your needs and interests.

Following the visit to Auchlone, we’ll continue your learning with a practical workshop session. We’ll address the practical considerations of delivering daily outdoor education. You’ll also get an insight into how we support inquiry-based learning with the Floorbook Approach, created by Dr Claire Warden. Finally we’ll explore how you can implement parts of the nature kindergarten ethos and the Floorbook Approach into your own practice to create authentic and rich learning experiences and to improve your practice.

Our Nature Kindergarten Day is ideal for practitioners who wish to begin intertwining nature into all forms of learning whether they are in a rural or urban setting, educators who currently work in an outdoor learning centre or anyone looking to set up an outdoor learning centre. It will support increased engagement with the natural environment and help you improve your own practice inside, outside, and beyond!

Aims:
– To explore the origins and approach of Nature Kindergartens internationally and to look at the methodology behind Nature Pedagogy as defined by Claire Warden.
– To be able to plan for a relevant nature space in consultation with children.
– To look at the layout and day-to-day operation of an outdoor learning environment.
– To explore how the Nature Kindergarten methodology can be implemented in any kind of setting or practice.

Outcomes. You’ll be able to:
– Implement aspects of Nature Kindergarten practice to your setting.
– Record and evidence children’s learning using the Floorbook Approach.
– Create natural spaces inside and out and establish rich learning environments that stimulate and engage children.
– Design or source natural resources with children to use across the curriculum.

Testimonials:

“I was really looking forward to visiting Auchlone, I’d heard so much about it and I wasn’t disappointed. I’ll be putting what I’ve learnt into practice as soon as I can.” Nursery Practitioner

“Amazing, a total eye-opener! I can’t wait to start introducing learning with nature to our children.” Nursery Manager

“Inspiring, encouraging, exciting and invigorating. Kate and Mona were wonderful hosts and their enthusiasm for Nature Pedagogy is infectious.” Primary School Teacher

Auchlone Nature Kindergarten Visits

Auchlone Nature Kindergarten is an award-winning early years centre for 2-5 year olds in Perthshire where children spend over 85% of their time outdoors.

Your visit to Auchlone will involve an exploration of the ethos and methodology of Nature Pedagogy as developed by Dr Claire Warden. We will provide an in-depth tour of the areas of inside, outside, and beyond, explaining the thinking behind our practice. There will be ample opportunities for questions, sharing experiences and discussing specific situations. We’ll address a wide range of practical issues linked to outdoor learning.

Our Senior Trainer and/or Auchlone Manager will share their wide breadth of knowledge regarding all aspects of running a Nature Kindergarten and adjust the content of the visit according to your needs and interests.

This visit is ideal for people looking to set up an outdoor learning centre or those who currently work in one as well as educators who wish to begin intertwining nature into all forms of learning whether they are in a rural or urban setting. It will support increased engagement with the natural environment and help you improve your own practice inside, outside, and beyond!

Aims:
– To explore the origins and approach of Nature Kindergartens internationally and to look at the methodology behind Nature Pedagogy as defined by Dr Claire Warden.
– To be able to plan for a relevant nature space in consultation with children.
– To look at the layout and day-to-day operation of an outdoor learning environment.
– To explore how the Nature Kindergarten methodology can be implemented in any kind of setting or practice.

Outcomes. You will be able to:
– Implement aspects of Nature Kindergarten practice within your setting.
– Create natural spaces inside and out and establish rich learning environments that stimulate and engage children.
– Design or source natural resources with children to use across the curriculum.

Testimonials:

“I was really looking forward to visiting Auchlone, I’d heard so much about it and I wasn’t disappointed. I’ll be putting what I’ve learnt into practice as soon as I can.” Nursery Practitioner

“Amazing, a total eye-opener! I can’t wait to start introducing learning with nature to our children.” Nursery Manager

“Inspiring, encouraging, exciting and invigorating. Kate and Mona were wonderful hosts and their enthusiasm for nature pedagogy is infectious.” Primary School Teacher

Forest School Leader ITC Level 3 Award – HYBRID COURSE

We’re the only Forest School training provider to incorporate the Floorbook Approach created by Dr Claire Warden, in our training. This child led approach to planning and documentation supports key learning associated with Forest School themes and many aspects of the Curriculum for Excellence. It allows the transfer of information and methodology back to the school, linking learning across the areas of inside, outside and beyond. The Floorbook Approach is currently promoted by Education Scotland, Care Inspectorate and other governing bodies as good practice.

This ITC qualification is approved by and meets the requirements of the Forest School Association.

Our Forest School hybrid course has been developed for staff who may struggle to take 5 days out of their busy lives to receive the traditional format of theory and practice in face to face training.

The course consists of 11 online modules exploring the theoretical aspects of Forest School. Within these you will be asked to reflect upon their own practice and document your learning. 5 pre-requisite modules will be provided upon your enrolment and payment. These should be completed prior to your face to face training, the remaining modules can be completed within 6 months of registration.

You will attend 2.5 days face to face training in the practical aspects of Forest School, during this time our trainer will assess your skill levels.

The course culminates in your creation of a Forest School portfolio to evidence the five Forest School Level 3 units of Delivery, Learning and Development, Planning and Preparation, Practical Skills and Woodland Environment. Supportive learning materials, remote trainer and online support are provided.

Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria:
– Understand the structures of woodlands.
– Know how to identify a range of flora and fauna.
– Understand the importance of flora and fauna identification for the Forest School Programme Leader.
– Understand the management of woodlands as a sustainable learning environment.
– Be able to deliver a Forest School programme.
– Understand relevant theories of learning and development and their application to a Forest School programme.
– Understand how a Forest School programme can support holistic development and learning.
– Understand the impact of behaviour on learning and development at a Forest School programme.
– Be able to reflect on your own Forest School training.
– Understand the development of the Forest School ethos.
– Understand the ecological impact of a Forest School programme.
– Know the relevant policies and procedures requires for a Forest School programme.
– Be able to plan a Forest School programme.
– Be able to facilitate a range of woodland skills appropriate to a Forest School programme.
– Be able to facilitate campfire management appropriate to a Forest School programme.

Course Involvement Level:
– 2.5 days face to face training in the outdoors.
– 11 online modules (estimated duration for completion 65 hours – including assignments and reflection time).
– Delivery of 6 sessions over 6 weeks whilst tracking the progress of 3 children.
– Portfolio evidence to be submitted within 1 year.

Mindstretchers will take responsibility for the delivery of the entire programme and this will include the registration of candidates with ITC, support with course bookings, the administration of course delivery, evaluation of course outputs and initial report, on-going and final reports regarding the contract. Methodology follows ITC guidelines. We believe in equal opportunities allowing candidates to present evidence through a range of techniques: video, written portfolio, artistic representation and Floorbooks.

Forest School Leader ITC Level 3 Award – HYBRID COURSE

We’re the only Forest School training provider to incorporate the Floorbook Approach created by Dr Claire Warden, in our training. This child led approach to planning and documentation supports key learning associated with Forest School themes and many aspects of the Curriculum for Excellence. It allows the transfer of information and methodology back to the school, linking learning across the areas of inside, outside and beyond. The Floorbook Approach is currently promoted by Education Scotland, Care Inspectorate and other governing bodies as good practice.

This ITC qualification is approved by and meets the requirements of the Forest School Association.

Our Forest School hybrid course has been developed for staff who may struggle to take 5 days out of their busy lives to receive the traditional format of theory and practice in face to face training.

The course consists of 11 online modules exploring the theoretical aspects of Forest School. Within these you will be asked to reflect upon their own practice and document your learning. 5 pre-requisite modules will be provided upon your enrolment and payment. These should be completed prior to your face to face training, the remaining modules can be completed within 6 months of registration.

You will attend 2.5 days face to face training in the practical aspects of Forest School, during this time our trainer will assess your skill levels.

The course culminates in your creation of a Forest School portfolio to evidence the five Forest School Level 3 units of Delivery, Learning and Development, Planning and Preparation, Practical Skills and Woodland Environment. Supportive learning materials, remote trainer and online support are provided.

Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria:
– Understand the structures of woodlands.
– Know how to identify a range of flora and fauna.
– Understand the importance of flora and fauna identification for the Forest School Programme Leader.
– Understand the management of woodlands as a sustainable learning environment.
– Be able to deliver a Forest School programme.
– Understand relevant theories of learning and development and their application to a Forest School programme.
– Understand how a Forest School programme can support holistic development and learning.
– Understand the impact of behaviour on learning and development at a Forest School programme.
– Be able to reflect on your own Forest School training.
– Understand the development of the Forest School ethos.
– Understand the ecological impact of a Forest School programme.
– Know the relevant policies and procedures requires for a Forest School programme.
– Be able to plan a Forest School programme.
– Be able to facilitate a range of woodland skills appropriate to a Forest School programme.
– Be able to facilitate campfire management appropriate to a Forest School programme.

Course Involvement Level:
– 2.5 days face to face training in the outdoors.
– 11 online modules (estimated duration for completion 65 hours – including assignments and reflection time).
– Delivery of 6 sessions over 6 weeks whilst tracking the progress of 3 children.
– Portfolio evidence to be submitted within 1 year.

Mindstretchers will take responsibility for the delivery of the entire programme and this will include the registration of candidates with ITC, support with course bookings, the administration of course delivery, evaluation of course outputs and initial report, on-going and final reports regarding the contract. Methodology follows ITC guidelines. We believe in equal opportunities allowing candidates to present evidence through a range of techniques: video, written portfolio, artistic representation and Floorbooks.

Forest School Leader ITC Level 3 Award – 5-day course

We’re the only Forest School training provider to incorporate the Floorbook Approach created by Dr Claire Warden, in our training. This child led approach to planning and documentation supports key learning associated with Forest School themes and many aspects of the Curriculum for Excellence. It allows the transfer of information and methodology back to the school, linking learning across the areas of inside, outside and beyond. The Floorbook Approach is currently promoted by Education Scotland, Care Inspectorate and other governing bodies as good practice.

This ITC qualification is approved by and meets the requirements of the Forest School Association. It is intended to provide the skills and knowledge required to set up and deliver safe and effective Forest School Programmes, for those who wish to become Forest School Leaders.

Learners will learn about these topics:
– Woodland habitats – its structure, species identification and sustainable management.
– Programme delivery – it’s planning, management and safe facilitation.
– Monitoring, tracking and evaluating children’s progress over their time at Forest School.
– The theory behind Forest School – understanding how the whole child develops during their Forest School sessions.
– Reflection of practice to move forward in your personal development.
– Support in creation of a Forest School handbook.
– Develop practical bush craft skills in shelter construction, knots, tool use, fire management and cooking outdoors.
– Assessment tasks will result in each candidate producing a portfolio of evidence meeting each assessment criteria in each unit.

MINIMUM AGE:
19 years. You should have some experience of working outside with children prior to attending the course.

Please be aware this involves submission of a portfolio to an academic level equivalent to the first year of a degree. We can accept a range of evidence for people with specific learning requirements. You should have some experience of working outside with children prior to attending the course.

Course involvement level:
5 days training – 14-18 September – 96 guided learning hours, portfolio of evidence to be handed in within a year

What’s included:
5 days training
Your supportive learning materials
Remote support throughout the course
Duration: one year for completion of submission of portfolio.

Play! Documenting Play with Children using Floorbooks

A Masterclass with Dr Claire Warden

Join Dr Claire Warden, the creator of the Floorbook Approach, in an exploration of the importance of play and how we can be led by children in documenting play using Floorbooks. Learn about this simple meaningful methodology of planning, documenting, critically reflecting and evidencing children’s play and learning WITH THEM NOT FOR THEM whilst delivering the curriculum.

Claire has a wealth of experience and knowledge in early childhood education. She’s inspired 1,000’s of practitioners around the world to use Floorbooks to give children a voice and increase their engagement. Floorbooks are promoted by Education Scotland, The Care Inspectorate and other governing bodies as good practice.

Objectives. By the end of this masterclass you’ll be able to:
– Outline the place of documentation in the play process.
– Explain the theoretical perspectives of structured play.
– Use child led documentation to empower the child and educators to create effective learning pathways.
– Develop leadership strategies to support a whole centre approach to inquiry-based documentation.

“Such inspiring training! We’d been using Floorbooks in a limited way, but after my light bulb moment in your masterclass, I feel enthused and excited about strengthening our use of them. They have so much potential to make the children’s learning through play more visible, capturing their voices and progress in a more systematic but realistic way.”

Forest School Leader ITC Level 3 Award – HYBRID COURSE

We’re the only Forest School training provider to incorporate the Floorbook Approach created by Dr Claire Warden, in our training. This child led approach to planning and documentation supports key learning associated with Forest School themes and many aspects of the Curriculum for Excellence. It allows the transfer of information and methodology back to the school, linking learning across the areas of inside, outside and beyond. The Floorbook Approach is currently promoted by Education Scotland, Care Inspectorate and other governing bodies as good practice.

This ITC qualification is approved by and meets the requirements of the Forest School Association.

Our Forest School hybrid course has been developed for staff who may struggle to take 5 days out of their busy lives to receive the traditional format of theory and practice in face to face training.

The course consists of 11 online modules exploring the theoretical aspects of Forest School. Within these you will be asked to reflect upon their own practice and document your learning. 5 pre-requisite modules will be provided upon your enrolment and payment. These should be completed prior to your face to face training, the remaining modules can be completed within 6 months of registration.

You will attend 2.5 days face to face training in the practical aspects of Forest School, during this time our trainer will assess your skill levels.

The course culminates in your creation of a Forest School portfolio to evidence the five Forest School Level 3 units of Delivery, Learning and Development, Planning and Preparation, Practical Skills and Woodland Environment. Supportive learning materials, remote trainer and online support are provided.

Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria:
– Understand the structures of woodlands.
– Know how to identify a range of flora and fauna.
– Understand the importance of flora and fauna identification for the Forest School Programme Leader.
– Understand the management of woodlands as a sustainable learning environment.
– Be able to deliver a Forest School programme.
– Understand relevant theories of learning and development and their application to a Forest School programme.
– Understand how a Forest School programme can support holistic development and learning.
– Understand the impact of behaviour on learning and development at a Forest School programme.
– Be able to reflect on your own Forest School training.
– Understand the development of the Forest School ethos.
– Understand the ecological impact of a Forest School programme.
– Know the relevant policies and procedures requires for a Forest School programme.
– Be able to plan a Forest School programme.
– Be able to facilitate a range of woodland skills appropriate to a Forest School programme.
– Be able to facilitate campfire management appropriate to a Forest School programme.

Course Involvement Level:
– 2.5 days face to face training in the outdoors.
– 11 online modules (estimated duration for completion 65 hours – including assignments and reflection time).
– Delivery of 6 sessions over 6 weeks whilst tracking the progress of 3 children.
– Portfolio evidence to be submitted within 1 year.

Mindstretchers will take responsibility for the delivery of the entire programme and this will include the registration of candidates with ITC, support with course bookings, the administration of course delivery, evaluation of course outputs and initial report, on-going and final reports regarding the contract. Methodology follows ITC guidelines. We believe in equal opportunities allowing candidates to present evidence through a range of techniques: video, written portfolio, artistic representation and Floorbooks.

Forest School Leader ITC Level 3 Award – 5-day course

We’re the only Forest School training provider to incorporate the Floorbook Approach created by Dr Claire Warden, in our training. This child led approach to planning and documentation supports key learning associated with Forest School themes and many aspects of the Curriculum for Excellence. It allows the transfer of information and methodology back to the school, linking learning across the areas of inside, outside and beyond. The Floorbook Approach is currently promoted by Education Scotland, Care Inspectorate and other governing bodies as good practice.

This ITC qualification is approved by and meets the requirements of the Forest School Association. It is intended to provide the skills and knowledge required to set up and deliver safe and effective Forest School Programmes, for those who wish to become Forest School Leaders.

Learners will learn about these topics:
– Woodland habitats – its structure, species identification and sustainable management.
– Programme delivery – it’s planning, management and safe facilitation.
– Monitoring, tracking and evaluating children’s progress over their time at Forest School.
– The theory behind Forest School – understanding how the whole child develops during their Forest School sessions.
– Reflection of practice to move forward in your personal development.
– Support in creation of a Forest School handbook.
– Develop practical bush craft skills in shelter construction, knots, tool use, fire management and cooking outdoors.
– Assessment tasks will result in each candidate producing a portfolio of evidence meeting each assessment criteria in each unit.

MINIMUM AGE:
19 years. You should have some experience of working outside with children prior to attending the course.

Please be aware this involves submission of a portfolio to an academic level equivalent to the first year of a degree. We can accept a range of evidence for people with specific learning requirements. You should have some experience of working outside with children prior to attending the course.

Course involvement level:
5 days training – 15-19 March 2021 – 96 guided learning hours, portfolio of evidence to be handed in within a year

What’s included:
5 days training
Your supportive learning materials
Remote support throughout the course
Duration: one year for completion of submission of portfolio.