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 Classroom Day

Outdoor Classroom Day Logo

Outdoor Classroom Day is a global campaign to celebrate and inspire outdoor learning and play. On the day, thousands of schools around the world take lessons outdoors and prioritise playtime. In 2017, over 2.3 million children worldwide took part, more than 580,000 of those were in the UK and Ireland. 

Outdoor learning improves children’s healthengages them with learning and leads to a greater connection with nature. Play not only teaches critical life skills such as resilienceteamwork and creativity, but is central to children’s enjoyment of childhood. 

It’s easy to get involved and there is something everyone can do! 

If you’re a teacher and new to outdoor learning, why not use Outdoor Classroom Day to try it out? If you already get outdoors regularly, use the day to celebrate what you’re doing and inspire other teachers around the world to join in. 

If you’re a parent, talk to your child’s school about the importance of outdoor learning and play and encourage them to get involved. Think about how you can spend more time outdoors as a family too and inspire other parents to do the same. 

If you work for an organisation that cares about children, nature, education or the environment, speak to us about how you can get involved. We’re always looking for partners to help spread the message far and wide. 

So that schools can participate on a day that fits with their term times, the UK and Ireland campaign has two dates in 2018 — Thursday 17 May and Thursday 1 November. Sign up below for one or both and help build a movement that gets children outdoors to play and learn every day! 

Lots of resources for teachers, practitioners & parents here.

#OutdoorClassroomDay

Putting the Forestry into Forest Education: FEN Conference 2019

a group of children & a teacher in a green leafy forest

Forest Education Network England: National CPD Event

Following the success of FEN’s first national CPD event in 2017 we are delighted to announce the details of the second event, taking place in the National Forest at Rosliston Forestry Centre, South Derbyshire.

Whether you are a teacher, forest school practitioner, outdoor learning provider, woodland owner, or simply interested in Britain’s forests and woodland, this biannual event will provide you with sources of information, advice and valuable networks to improve your knowledge and practice.

The day is designed to expand delegates’ knowledge and understanding of the ecology and management of the UK’s forests and woodlands and provide them with practical advice.

In the diverse woodlands of Rosliston Forestry Centre, delegates will participate in three inspiring and practical workshop sessions led by national forestry and education experts.

Workshop A: From tree to wood product! Information, resources and activities on how we use British trees
Workshop B: Caring for our trees! Identification skills and tree health awareness to understand and protect our woodlands
Workshop C: Creating Forests for Learning! Creating new woodland sites for schools and managing existing woodland sites for schools.

More details here: www.lotc.org.uk/putting-the-forestry-into-forest-education-fen-conference-2019

The event will offer plenty of chances to get outside and explore the heart of the National Forest. In addition, Woodland Trust will be providing an overview of their new ‘Tree Tools for Schools’ resource. This free, online resource has activities linked to the primary curriculum and supports many of the topics covered in this CPD event. There will be opportunities for networking with other forest educators and browsing the forest education resources on display.

Due to the nature of the inspiring workshops numbers are limited for this event. Book today to ensure you don’t miss out.

All income raised through this event will enable the Forest Education Network England to continue its work promoting forest education and supporting forest educators.

Early Childhood Outdoors: Being at Home Outside

With your involvement, this development day will be a shared opportunity to:
• Grow and strengthen the ‘meshwork’ of those sharing the mission of increasing the amount, time and quality of experiences outdoors for all young children;
• Hear how the work and action of Early Childhood Outdoors is developing;
• Consider how involvement in the ECO meshwork can support both your current work and what you want to achieve;
• Meet other outdoor champions from across the UK and spark possibilities for collaboration;
• Map out ways to grow the momentum for outdoor play in the UK.

Where?  The Showroom, a unique cultural hub situated in the heart of Sheffield’s Cultural Industries Quarter and opposite the main train station
How can I get there? National links by rail to Sheffield Station are good and ample nearby parking by QPark is half price for conference delegates (Charles Street only but NOT the QPark at the station).
How much? We are very keen to have you join us, and as PlayGarden and Muddy Faces are once again generously supporting the event, we have been able to limit the cost per participant to £65.00 per person, including refreshments and a great locally sourced lunch.
To register, please return the Booking Form to Jayne at info@earlychildhoodoutdoors.org

Speakers

Niki Buchan 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. Trusting children as being capable and competent, able to assess and take their own risks and face challenges, she believes all children have a right to regular access to nature and to have their voices heard in matters that affect them. A leading voice in promoting nature-based practice, Niki
works internationally as a conference keynote speaker, nature pedagogue and mentor, and has been invited to work in the UK, USA, Canada, Iceland, Sweden, SouthKorea, China, Norway, Denmark and South Africa. Also award-winning author of Children in wild nature: a practical guide to nature-based practice, Adventurous play and STEM Detectives, she is mother of four adult children, an adventurer, keen photographer and is usually surrounded by children!

Sue Stokoe is Headteacher of Boldon Outdoor Nursery School in South Tyneside, North East England. For the past 13 years she has had the pleasure of leading staff, parents and governors on a journey to develop the nursery from the traditional stand-alone maintained nursery school it was to the award-winning and internationally-renowned centre of excellence it is today. The nursery school operates outdoors for over 90% of each session, learning in and with nature through its seasons and elements.

Conference Programme

Conference programme includes two exciting keynotes plus plenty of time for networking and professional discussions

10.00 Arrival, registration and refreshments
10:30 Welcome and introduction: Jan White
10:45 Niki Buchan, international education consultant with Natural Learning Early Childhood
Consultancy in Australia. International perspectives on nature based provision and practice
11:45 Coffee break & exhibits
12.00 Meeting, sharing & networking discussions
12:45 Dandelion Award followed by lunch & exhibits
1.45 Sue Stokoe, Head of Boldon Outdoor Nursery School (TES School of the Year winner 2016). Becoming and being an outdoor-focused maintained nursery school: starting points, challenges, successes and aspirations
2:45 Early Childhood Outdoors coordinators – sharing developments in the ECO meshwork and our strands of activity
3:30 Moving onwards and upwards discussions
4:30 Summary and close.

Outdoor Classroom Day

Outdoor Classroom Day Logo

Outdoor Classroom Day is a global campaign to celebrate and inspire outdoor learning and play. On the day, thousands of schools around the world take lessons outdoors and prioritise playtime. In 2018, over 3.5 million children worldwide took part, more than 550,000 of those were in the UK and Ireland. 

Outdoor learning improves children’s healthengages them with learning and leads to a greater connection with nature. Play not only teaches critical life skills such as resilienceteamwork and creativity, but is central to children’s enjoyment of childhood. 

It’s easy to get involved and there is something everyone can do! 

If you’re a teacher and new to outdoor learning, why not use Outdoor Classroom Day to try it out? If you already get outdoors regularly, use the day to celebrate what you’re doing and inspire other teachers around the world to join in. 

If you’re a parent, talk to your child’s school about the importance of outdoor learning and play and encourage them to get involved. Think about how you can spend more time outdoors as a family too and inspire other parents to do the same. 

If you work for an organisation that cares about children, nature, education or the environment, speak to us about how you can get involved. We’re always looking for partners to help spread the message far and wide. 

So that schools can participate on a day that fits with their term times, the UK and Ireland campaign has two dates each year. The next Outdoor Classroom Days are on Thursday 23 and May and Thursday 7 November 2019. Sign up online for one or both and help build a movement that gets children outdoors to play and learn every day!’

Outdoor Learning Conference: Myth Busting Outdoors!

poster for outdoor learning conference Nov 2019

A chance to reflect upon risk taking, challenge and adventure in early childhood

Start the new academic year with an inspirational morning all about learning outdoors. Hear keynote speaker Kathryn Solly and look around our outstanding provision to give you lots of tips and ideas to take back to your own setting.

Key Information as follows:

  • Saturday 2nd November 2019
  • 9.30am -1.00pm (approx)
  • Keynote speaker: Kathryn Solly
  • Pikes Lane Primary School, Gibraltar Street, Bolton, BL3 5HU
  • Site tour including; 2 year old provision, EYFS and Forest School site
  • Refreshments and light lunch included
  • Stalls from related businesses
  • Raffle including prizes from great businesses like Muddy Faces

The morning will include an introduction by Chloe Grey (@missgreyandplay) and refreshments. This will give you time to browse the stalls and enter the exciting raffle. The seminar will then start at 10.00am and will include a short break. At around 12.15pm the seminar will be followed by a light lunch and tour of the setting. You will have a chance to see the outstanding provision including the Preschool (two year old) and Early Years classrooms and outdoor areas and also the newly developed Forest School provision. The event will finish at around 1.00pm but you are welcome to depart at your convenience.

Please contact Chloe Grey with any questions or comments either via social media (@missgreyandplay) or by email: missgreyandplay@gmail.com

About the keynote Speaker: Kathryn Solly

Kathryn Solly (@SollyKathryn) started life as a secondary school teacher on Voluntary Service Overseas in Papua New Guinea for two years. Since then she has taught across all the phases of education including a short time in an Albanian kindergarten. She realised that if she was to really make a difference she had to re-train to teach in the early years and has since achieved a special needs qualification and an M.A. in Early Education and Care.

After two nursery school posts outside London both involving garden development projects, she became the Head teacher of Chelsea Open Air Nursery School and Children’s Centre for nearly 17 years. Here Kathryn developed a highly inclusive learning community in cosmopolitan Chelsea, building upon the creative learning ethos started by COA’s founder – Dr. Susan Isaacs.

She was awarded the Unilever Fellowship researching aspects of Early Years Leadership and Management. She has contributed to several journals and books on a variety of aspects of early childhood pedagogy, practices and partnerships. Her first book ‘Adventure, Risk and Challenge in the Early Years’ was published in 2014. She is now writing ‘Leading Learning Outdoors from Birth to Seven.’

Kathryn now concentrates on specialist early childhood consulting, training and authorship. She is a Froebel Trust Travelling Trainer, an Associate for Early Education, Vice Chair of the Early Childhood Forum, and a leading member of Keeping Early Years Unique. She continues to be fascinated by young children’s learning, the pioneers, nature and the world around us and is continuing to explore it with a variety of practitioners in her daily work and research. She also enjoys ‘hands-on’ experiences with her grandchildren.

Host: Pikes Lane Primary School

Pikes Lane Primary School is situated close to the centre of Bolton in Greater Manchester. It is a two-form entry, outstanding primary school that serves a multi-cultural and diverse community. It has several areas of outdoor provision for its early years pupils and has recently developed an area of Forest School provision on site.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Forest School Training Level 3

Forest School Training Level 3 with an FSA Endorsed Trainer!
Takes place in East Sussex and near Brighton.

Part 1: (4 days) Wednesday 18th March, Thursday 19th March at Mill Woods, Monday 23rd March & Tuesday 24th March at Parkwood Campsite.
Part 2: (3 days) Wednesday 29th April, Thursday 30th April & Friday 1st May 2020 at Mill Woods.
Part 3: (2 days) Tuesday 2nd June & Wednesday 3rd June 2020 at Mill Woods.

Approved by the Forest School Association and awarded by the Open College Network West Midlands, this Level 3 Certificate provides the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to prepare learners for employment as a Forest School Leader.

The training will combine key principles of Forest School with best practice from Environment and Nature Education, child development, the world of play (wild, free and therapeutic play) delivered by our professional team who have many years experience.

Circle of Life Training are now providing online learning resources to supplement this in-depth direct training. These documents are laid out in an easy to understand format that link to the Forest School Units. We also supply useful video material, links to best practice, a student upload to share valuable resources and the option to download resources for you to keep.

Full training fee = £920

More details: https://www.circleofliferediscovery.com/index.php?page=forest-school-training

Messy Maths with Juliet Robertson

Get real, get messy, get maths, get outside. Come and spend a wonderful day in the woods, with Juliet Robertson, the author of the multi-award winning book, Messy Maths. Together you will explore the five “R’s” of Messy Maths:

Rights – every child is mathematical and has the right to have learn about and explore maths.
Routines – embedding key maths concepts into your daily routines.
Resources – open-ended, low cost materials which can be used in lots of different ways with different ages and abilities of children.
Responsibilities of the adults – how to follow children’s lead and articulate the learning which happens through a play-based approach. It also includes ways of involving families in developing a child’s love of maths.
Re-imagining your outdoor space – developing maths-rich provision in any outdoor space be this a concrete jungle, woodland paradise or something else.

Date: 21st May 2020.
Lead Facilitator: Juliet Robertson
Location: Mill Woods, near Laughton, East Sussex, BN8 6BP
Cost: £120. If you are attending the Literacy Day also, the fee is £220 for the two days.
Time: 09.00 – 15.30

L3 Coordinating an Outdoor Curriculum

LEVEL 3 AWARD IN COORDINATING AN OUTDOOR CURRICULUM
This four day course is designed for those who are championing outdoor learning within their organisation. You will understand the background of outdoor learning and conduct a review of research & practice in recent years. You will audit existing provision and practice, create procedures and best practice guidelines for making outdoor learning part of a whole school educational strategy. You will understand site planning, sustainable management and be able to plan year round programmes. You will need to have a site and group identified as you will be expected to implement your outdoor learning programme.

Please note that you can only complete this course if you have completed the L2 Award in Outdoor Learning Practice, or attend the L2 course as part of this L3 qualification.

This course is assessed bu portfolio and usually takes 9 – 12 months to complete. This course is 10 credits and you will cover the following units;

Supporting Learning, Play and Development in the Outdoors
Observation and Evaluation of Outdoor Learning
Sustainable Use of Natural Resources
Outdoor Curriculum Coordinator
Entry Qualifications Required

Level 2 Qualification or appropriate experience in education, youth work, childcare etc.
Established link with a client group and at least two years experience with client groups
19 years or over at the start of the course.
First Aid Qualification and DBS strongly advised
Dates 8th , 9th, 15th and 16th June 2020

Location: Howe Park Education Centre Milton Keynes, Tattenhoe Ln, Tattenhoe MK4 3GG

L3 Coordinating an Outdoor Curriculum

LEVEL 3 AWARD IN COORDINATING AN OUTDOOR CURRICULUM

This four day course is designed for those who are championing outdoor learning within their organisation. You will understand the background of outdoor learning and conduct a review of research & practice in recent years. You will audit existing provision and practice, create procedures and best practice guidelines for making outdoor learning part of a whole school educational strategy. You will understand site planning, sustainable management and be able to plan year round programmes. You will need to have a site and group identified as you will be expected to implement your outdoor learning programme.

Please note that you can only complete this course if you have completed the L2 Award in Outdoor Learning Practice, or attend the L2 course as part of this L3 qualification.

This course is assessed bu portfolio and usually takes 9 – 12 months to complete. This course is 10 credits and you will cover the following units;

Supporting Learning, Play and Development in the Outdoors
Observation and Evaluation of Outdoor Learning
Sustainable Use of Natural Resources
Outdoor Curriculum Coordinator
Entry Qualifications Required

Level 2 Qualification or appropriate experience in education, youth work, childcare etc.
Established link with a client group and at least two years experience with client groups
19 years or over at the start of the course.
First Aid Qualification and DBS strongly advised
Cost £600

Dates 16th, 17th , 23rd, 24th Nov