Jan White, Suzanne Scott, Ann Thompson, Menna Godfrey
Masterclass Room B | 09.15-12.15


Our understanding of play outdoors – and its importance – is continuing to develop, as is its scope. Growing focus on our place in the natural world, as well as our role in achieving sustainable development, therapeutic use of movement and nature, and increasing awareness of the power of loose parts are all areas where practice outdoors is now pushing at the boundaries.

Whatever the horizons of our outdoor pedagogy, ‘best practice’ rests with core features from resources and storage to practitioner attitudes and parental engagement.

In this masterclass, we show how all early years settings – however urban their environment or small their outdoor space – can broaden their perspective on outdoor learning and improve their support of young children through a 12-point framework for Unlocking Learning Outdoors, developed by outdoor play specialist Jan White.

See individual masterclass session details below:

9.15-9.30 Coffee and welcome

9.30-10.00 Unlocking Learning Outdoors: pushing the boundaries

In this opening session, Jan will:

  • explore the growing potential of learning through play outdoors, from supporting neurological development to promoting ecological identity, and
  • provide an overview of the framework, its format and purpose.

Jan White, author and consultant in outdoor play and learning

10.00-11.00 Keys to success: getting outside and the outdoor space

Take a closer look at six of the ‘keys’ within the framework and see how some are implemented at a multi award-winning, and highly child-led and mud-oriented, preschool playgroup:

  • staff understanding, attitudes and vision - building practitioner confidence and changing mindsets
  • parental engagement – ensuring parents are fully on board
  • time spent outdoors – letting children know they can choose to be outside when they need to
  • movement and linkage across inside and outside - getting out and back in with ease
  • storage – making equipment easy and safe to use
  • organising resources – giving children greater choice and control.

Jan White, author and consultant in outdoor play and learning with Menna Godfrey, owner of Quackers, York, whose awards include NW Pre-school of the Year, Enabling Environments and Team Development 2016

11.00-11.15 Coffee break: your chance to network

11.15-12.15 Keys to success: providing experiences and supporting play and learning

Take a closer look at the remaining six of the ‘keys’ within the framework and see how some of them are implemented within a multi award-winning day nursery’s challenging and inspirational outdoor environment:

  • materials and resources provided for play – and how children are encouraged to use them
  • range of experiences available – harnessing what is different about being outdoors
  • planning for the outdoors - drawing from children’s interests and making best use of the outdoors
  • staff involvement – supporting play and learning to best effect
  • health and safety, challenge and risk management – finding the balance between challenge and safety
  • policy development – sharing vision and rationale, agreeing approaches and practices.

Jan White, author and consultant in outdoor play and learning, with Suzanne Scott, owner-manager and Ann Thompson, teacher and early years consultant, Sandfield Natural Play Centre, Knowsley, whose awards include NDNA Nursery of the Year 2011 and NMT Individual Nursery of the Year 2016

Full rate for attending 9.30-12.30 masterclass: £150 (+VAT) / Early bird rate £125 (+VAT) for bookings made by 27th April.

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