Tag Archive: outdoor play


IMG_8734On Tuesday I attended the latest meeting of the national Landscapes for Early Childhood Network, at the Earlham Early Years Centre in Norwich. The Network, which I joined last year, brings together  professionals working with young children and those concerned with designing and creating play and other landscapes for them. It provides a powerful creative forum for discussion of ideas and approaches to early years spaces and activities and also gives a wonderful opportunity to visit excellent examples of these landscapes, sometimes in schools or nurseries, sometimes in public open spaces.

I was pleased to speak at this week’s meeting on the topic of ‘learning for sustainability’ (or as I termed it ‘Nurturing Nurture’) – how we encourage children (and adults for that matter), to understand the way the world works, how mankind’s activities affect this and what can be done to live more sustainably. I talked about the word ‘sustainability’ and how this has become rather diluted and misused in modern language, but is really about maintaining an ecological balance in the world where non renewable natural resources are used (and reused) carefully, if at all.

I featured some of my own work in this field, especially working with youngsters in school gardening activities as well as creating play landscapes and other spaces which inspire younger children to develop their curiosity, imagination and understanding of the natural world. I focused in particular on the importance of engaging children in food growing as a way of contributing towards food production and security.

Presentations were also given by other network members on their work, but the main event was to see and hear about the very special ‘garden’  at the Earlham EYC. Felicity Thomas, the original head teacher and her colleagues gave us a wonderful guided tour of the garden (it was great seeing the children busy in it as we went around), and told us about why and how it had been developed. The brief for the original design (which has since evolved over the last ten years), is worth sharing, so I repeat it below along with a slide show of pictures I took (which for security reasons do not include the children).  I hope you enjoy them.

‘To create a unique environment for children and others using the Centre which demonstrates sustainable principles in practice, where children can:-

  • access a varied topography in scale, contour and texture, incorporating dramatic changes in level, big mounds, large areas of sand in which to prospect.

  • plant, grow, harvest and cook food.

  • hide and not be seen, find and create places for refuge and reflection; read, share stories and use their imagination.

  • go on expeditions and journeys; develop an understanding of positional words by having places to be in, under, behind, below and above.

  • experience and understand the elements; interact with moving water, solar power and wind, be protected from the sun.

  • explore their senses through plants, materials and elements which provide a myriad of colour, shape, sound, texture and smell.

  • independently access equipment and loose materials.

  • learn to care and take responsibility for themselves, each other and the environment.

  • be happy, be fulfilled.’

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Old School Gardener

The Benefits of Winter Outdoor Play

Great ideas from Wilko Life! Click on the title for the full article.

Old School Gardener

Ideas for Nature Play

Wate rplay- Wells next the Sea, Norfolklk

Some great downloadable resources here on nature play – from active recipes to messy recipes!

Old School Gardener

Project Wild Thing- showing at Picturehouse Cinemas!

project wild thing‘The roaming radius of British children — i.e.. the distance they wander from their home — has shrunk by 90 per cent in the last 30 years

It’s a disheartening statistic, but one that has inspired award-winning filmmaker David Bond, who, keen for future generations not to miss out on the magic of the great outdoors, dreamed up PROJECT WILD THING.

The film itself is only one part of Bond’s campaign, which enlists a number of scientists, nature experts, sociologists, as well as the National Trust, to set about selling nature to kids.

Conscious that it will take more than eulogising to prise them away from their TVs and games consoles, Bond also recruits a marketing team to lend their branding savvy and repackage the countryside.

A charming exercise in creative, socially-minded activism, PROJECT WILD THING is a grass-roots triumph..’

Playing out – and nature in the garden

street playA super couple of items from Monday’s BBC TV ‘One Show’. The first is about the new street play project in England, the following item about what nature can live in a square metre of a garden….The two items begin about 2 minutes from the start of the programme and last about 12 minutes in total.

Enjoy and share!

Old School Gardener

Share the ‘Love Outdoor Play’ animation

Swainswick Explorers

10 Top outdoor play blogs

‘You’ve probably guessed by now that I am a huge fan of outdoor play. 

In an age when a complex web of circumstances pressures seem to be keeping our kids indoors more than ever I believe that one of my most important roles as a teacher is to give our kids lots of time for free and unstructured play outdoors.

Here are 10 fellow bloggy types who feel the same way.…..’

Alphabet Ravine

Lydia Rae Bush Poetry

TIME GENTS

Australian Pub Project

Vanha Talo Suomi

a harrowing journey of home improvement

How I Killed Betty!

The Diary and blog on How to Tackle Depression and Anxiety!

Bits & Tidbits

RANDOM BITS & MORE TIDBITS

Rambling in the Garden

.....and nurturing my soul

The Interpretation Game

Cultural Heritage and the Digital Economy

pbmGarden

Sense of place, purpose, rejuvenation and joy

SISSINGHURST GARDEN

Notes from the Gardeners...

Deep Green Permaculture

Connecting People to Nature, Empowering People to Live Sustainably

BloominBootiful

A girl and her garden :)

gwenniesworld

ABOUT MY GARDEN, MY TRAVELS AND ART

Salt of Portugal

all that is glorious about Portugal

The Ramblings of an Aspiring Small Town Girl

Cooking, gardening, fishing, living, laughing.

aristonorganic

"The Best of the Best"

PetalPushin

Thoughts from a professional Petal Pusher

Free Spirit Publishing Blog

An idea exchange for kids' education

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