Calling all Early Years teachers and practitioners in Aberdeen City. If you work in a local authority nursery or P1 class or in an ELCC partner provider setting with children aged 3-6 then you may want to browse the “Additional Training Opportunities” programme which came out with the Early Learning and Childcare Training Programme. By accident my courses were omitted from the main catalogue so the EY team very kindly created a special one with just the Creative STAR courses. All of the courses are free and you apply through the EY team.
The Wee Green Spaces project is a year-long training programme based upon the Forest Kindergarten model and adapted by Juliet for Aberdeen City. Using a range of greenspace sites across the City and in partnership with the environmental services team and other outdoor professionals, practitioners are supported to develop frequent and regular off-site visits to local greenspace, whatever this may be. It involves 7 twilight training sessions and at least one support visit to your setting. The Aberdeen City Early Years Team was awarded the Eco Learning EcoCity prize for this training project. It has also been featured in Education Scotland’s publication Early Years Matters and in the 2014 Scottish Learning Festival. It is a positive, practical, solution-focused approach to getting children into nature with opportunities for the participants to learn from and support each other. The impact of this training is considerable and to witness the benefits for the children involved, is profound. Come and join in!
There are lots of different courses to choose from – most are 2-part twilight training sessions with work to do in between. Some are old favourites. Here’s a brief summary to whet your outdoor appetite…
Outdoor active problem solving (1 twilight session 14.9.15 or 3.3.16): This twilight looks at how we encourage children to problem solve through our interactions, the routines that are created in an EY class, as part of circle time and by creating specific challenges that require children to problem-solve.
Nature Play in Man-Made Jungles (2-part course 15.9.15 & 7.3.15) : This course is designed for practitioners working in concrete jungles or plastic-fantastic outdoor spaces. We look at simple ways of naturalising an outdoor space and how to gain input from, and involve the children in, making the changes. This is a great complement to the year-long Wee Green Spaces project (see above and below).
Outdoor Play Every Day from Scratch (1 session 16.9.15 or 8.3.15): When you cannot leave resources outside, it can be frustrating. Perhaps you share an outdoor space with another user or have to use the school grounds because you have no designated space. Whatever the weather, we will look at practical ways of getting outside and working with children to provide creative, open-ended play experiences.
Outdoor Art (1 session running on 23.9.15 or 9.3.15) : Exactly what it says! This is a hands-on session that covers all sorts of activities designed to encourage children to explore the world around them through their senses.
Improvement Through Self-Evaluation (2-part course 27.1.16 & 21.3.16) : Looking inwards, outwards and forwards… we take time to explore what self-evaluation is and how we can integrate this vital aspect of our work into our daily lives as reflective practitioners.
Management and Leadership in the Early Years (2-part course 2.2.16 & 23.3.16) : This course is not your standard leadership one. We look at how our leadership skills and those of the children we work with can be developed through nursery life where children are valued contributors to all that happens.
Responsive Planning from Children’s Needs and Interests (2-part course 28.1.16 & 22.3.16): This course looks at practical ways of providing high quality, active learning experiences which start from the children’s needs and interests and build upon what they already know.
How Good is Your Outdoor Literacy? (2-part course 29.9.15 & 15.3.16 and How Good is Your Outdoor Maths? (2-part course 30.9.15 & 16.3.16) : These pilot projects are aimed at lead practitioners who want to ensure literacy and maths are embedded into the life and work of their setting. Very often knowing what to look for and how to improve this aspects of provision outdoors can be a challenge.
Finally, as well as all of the above courses, other partner organisations are also providing lots of outdoor Early Years training. In the main catalogue, look out for:
The Nature of the Seasons: these courses are run by the Aberdeen Biodiversity Centre and include the opportunity to borrow resource boxes to help children investigate the seasons. Cost: free.
Facilitating Outdoor Free Play for Children Aged 2-5 years: This 2-part course is running several times through out the year by Terri Harrison of Nature Nurture. It’s about free play and the role of the practitioner in outdoor settings. Cost £30.
Loose Parts for Small Spaces (Outdoors): This morning course is being run by Aberdeen Play Forum and explores the concept of free play, play themes, the play cycle and the benefits of using loose parts. Cost: £15.
Loose Parts Outdoors: More outdoor play advice, ideas and theory from Aberdeen Play Forum – a 2-part training session. Cost £20.
Understanding and Supporting Behaviour in Outdoor Settings for Early Years Practitioners: This whole day course is being provided Daniel and Terri Harrison of Nature Nurture. It looks at how outdoor settings can be used to promote social and emotional development and support positive behaviours in young children. Cost £50.