Outdoor Courses for Educators

Juliet and her team deliver around 75 practical and popular courses annually making Creative STAR one of the largest training providers in Scotland. These are aimed at school staff and practitioners, outdoor professionals and play workers who work with primary schools and early years settings.

Wendy Smith, a former primary and early years teacher, works alongside Juliet and is able to facilitate courses too. Her background is varied and includes being an educational psychologist! She was instrumental in her school at developing learning outdoors and this included getting the whole school to use a nearby woodland on a regular basis all year round.

I just wanted to email and say what a fabulous session we had with Wendy yesterday. She visited all three schools and worked with the children providing teachers with a wealth of ideas to get them started with Outdoor Learning. Wendy was so enthusiastic and friendly and feedback was very positive from the staff and children. Wendy also worked with staff to increase confidence in Outdoor Learning which was hugely beneficial. I for one am inspired to get outdoors with the children! – Ruth Anderson, P5-7 Teacher, Eaglesfield Primary, March 2017

Andrea Stevenson is a primary teacher who trained in Canada and worked there and in the USA prior to moving to Scotland. She works primarily in Aberdeen, providing support to local schools to kickstart learning outside.

What We can Do for You

  • Provide a high quality course on-site or at a nearby establishment. Book us to deliver at your school.
  • Faciltate programmes for outdoor learning conferences and contribute workshops, activities and/or keynote presentations.
  • Run a series of courses on behalf of a local authority or school cluster. Aberdeen City Early Years team have used Creative STAR for this purpose since 2009.
  • Create bespoke courses for your organisation or agency. Juliet developed Why Outdoors and How Outdoors in conjunction with Learning & Teaching Scotland for their Outdoor Learning CPD programme. Why Outdoors takes a critical thinking skills approach to learning outside which focuses upon creating a collaborative learning environment. How Outdoors is about getting children and young people off-site and finding ways of enabling this to happen on a frequent and regular basis.

We are a Registered CPD Provider with Education Scotland

CPD logoWe have separate courses for early years and primary schools but on the same themes. This enables schools and local authorities to ensure continuity and progression across the sectors – great for transition arrangements.

Our courses are carefully designed to ensure participants:

  • Feel inspired and motivated to take children outside more often
  • Gain practical ideas and reflect on their own practice
  • Develop their understanding of learning and teaching processes outdoors
  • Have opportunities to consider learning in the school grounds, local neighbourhood and beyond

I would just like to thank you for such a practical, inspiring and informative day. I can honestly say that today was the most useful and interesting course I have ever been on. I really liked how you linked the theory to practical considerations and had reasoned arguments for all that you did.
Course participant, Dumfries & Galloway, Taking Learning Outdoors training session

The courses listed below have been continuously developed, adapted and improved year-on-year since 2007. They work best when followed up with ongoing support and as part of a whole school approach to improving learning through better use of the outdoors:

Primary Schools

Early Years 


Bigger Training Projects

Juliet also works with national organisations, local authorities, schools and other groups creating training material for them. This enables local people to develop and facilitate their own courses at a cost effective price. Examples of these include:

1) Forest Kindergarten Training

This 3-day early years course was developed in conjunction with Karen Boyd on behalf of the Forestry Commission Scotland. It prepares practitioners for working on a frequent and regular basis in woodlands and local greenspace. A sustainable and rights-based approach is taken which provides a positive, practical framework for planning and preparing staff, children and volunteers. It is currently being provided in several local authorities in Central Scotland.

2) Wee Green Spaces Project

This is a twilight pilot approach which has expanded the Forest Kindergarten training into preparing practitioners to work off-site in any greenspace or to undertake weekly welly walks if a suitable site is not available. Juliet is managing this project on behalf of Aberdeen City Early Years team and we are using the Early Years Action Collaborative approach to improving outcomes for the children through small tests of change. This is happening throughout 2013-15.

3) Perth & Kinross Outdoor Learning Development Officers

Juliet provided 3-days training to the Outdoor Learning Development Officers in early 2012 which enabled them to run outdoor courses using Creative STAR materials and create their own during their 12-month secondments. This saved the council countless hours of work as the officers were then able to hit the ground running.

4) Go2Play Free Play Outdoors Training Session

Juliet coordinated a series of training days in Autumn 2013 to encourage play rangers and recipient organisations of the Go2Play Capacity Fund to develop their outdoor play provision. Rather than working alone, Juliet invited different play professionals to run parts of the course including Alan Kane, The Jeely Piece Club and Broxburn Family Centre.

5) Outdoor Kindergarten Training – Lithuania

In the summer of 2014 Juliet worked with Lauko Darzelis, the first outdoor kindergarten to be established in Lithuania to provide training to the staff and other people who are planning to set up their own outdoor or Forest Kindergarten in different parts of Lithuania. The long-term aim is for this outdoor kindergarten to provide support and training to others looking to do the same within their country and adapt the Creative STAR materials to make them bespoke to Lithuania.

Open Courses for Educators

Normally, Juliet is hired directly by local authorities, schools and organisations. Recently, she has been receiving more requests for open courses for interested individuals to attend. These take more time, marketing and administration to make cost effective so normally these are organised and overseen by other organisations. As a result, the fees are not set by Creative STAR or Juliet and reflect the work of the partner organisation involved in running open courses. These courses are listed on the main page of this website.

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