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
- 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 –
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.
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.
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
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.