There is now less than two weeks to go until the summer holidays begin in my part of the world. Yesterday I facilitated my final workshops of the year and last week provided the end of the training events. It was the 75th day of training and workshops undertaken in this academic session. These have been run in all sorts of venues and places from the beautiful Island of Barra to delightful Derbyshire!
This is the beautiful outdoor space at Alfreton Nursery which is now a training venue in Derbyshire and a model of sustainable outstanding practice for more than a decade
I often get asked what sort of courses I provide
, well here’s a break down based upon this past year.
With primary schools the work has focused on:
Early Years Courses
With the Early Years sector, the requests have been more broad and have included all of the above and also:
- Fostering Creativity
- Expressive Arts
- Let’s Get Gardening
- Developing the Outdoor Space
- Active Problem Solving
- Getting Outside Whatever the Weather
- Using Loose Parts
- Beyond the Boundaries – a sustainable and rights-based approach to off-site activities. This included developing and trialling a 3-day course for EY practitioners who want to use local woodlands on a regular basis in conjunction with the Forestry Commission Scotland.
Off to a Forest Kindergarten session on the FCS 3-day training course in South Lanark
Looking back over the year, it seems that the number of support visits
to schools has noticeably increased. This is where schools and nurseries ask me to work alongside teachers modelling outdoor activities or to provide advice about developing outdoor spaces
The training courses can use any outdoor space – this is a disused car park for outdoor literacy
Also my conference work changed and became more varied. Every keynote speech
was on quite a different theme and its encouraging to see an outdoor perspective added into traditional education events and initiatives.
Grounds for Learning NatNet Event is always a favourite! This was my “Sticks and Stones” maths workshop
The enthusiasm of participants at all these events has been super. Generally practitioners like and enjoy the practical approach involved when learning outside, even if the weather is less than ideal. I love the opportunities courses present for sharing ideas and sparking off each other.
A participatory approach to developing school grounds in Mid Lothian
Next year looks as if I’ll be just as busy with almost 50 training events already in the diary. There’s further developments. For example, I’m doing sessions Reading Outdoors and Writing Outdoors as well as general literacy courses. Maths is getting a similar treatment, with sessions being offered specifically on fun themes such as messy maths and multicultural maths. Also there is an opportunity to attend courses on different aspects of maths such as Shape or Number or Data Handling activities.
Information handing on a beach in South Ayrshire in January!
My Science course is also becoming more specialised as people are needing further work on specific aspects of Curriculum for Excellence. There are new twilights being developed on Plants, Animals, Planet Earth, Fun with Forces and the Magic of Materials.
Hoisting the flag for free play outside in Aberdeen City!
For the first time ever, I’ve been asked to do some open events. I’m one of the Independent Thinking Ltd
Associates. This education consultancy has linked up with Teachology, a conference provider. If you wish to attend one of my literacy
courses, then these are being offered in November 2012 at Manchester and London venues. Please do come along and join in the fun! You will leave with far more ideas and activities than I can ever write about in this blog and hopefully a greater understanding of the how the unique and special nature of the outdoors really benefits children and how they learn.
Long live learning outdoors!