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Learning Outdoors in Early Childhood

It is my pleasure to have Jan White as my guest blogger this week.  Jan is fascinated by outdoor learning and play and the many benefits that this brings. She works both nationally and internationally to advocate and support high quality outdoor provision for services for children from birth to five.  With twenty-eight years’ experience of working in education, she is author of Playing and Learning Outdoors: making provision for high quality experiences in the outdoor environment (Routledge, 2008), and Making a Mud Kitchen (Muddy faces 2012), editor of Outdoor Provision in the Early Years (Sage, 2011), and Jan also collaborated with Siren Films to make the award-winning training DVDs Babies Outdoors, Toddlers Outdoors and Two Year-olds Outdoors (Siren Films, 2011).

Learning Outdoors in Early Childhood: An opportunity to dig deeply into the why, what and how of playing and learning outdoors for young children from birth to five!


Cooking up something wonderful!

Jan writes “ As a passionate advocate of young children’s right to be, play and learn outdoors, I’m very excited to let practitioners who are enthusiastic and committed to learning outdoors know about a wonderful opportunity to engage with ground-breaking training and research at Masters level.

Why does being outdoors matter so much for young children? What does really effective and satisfying outdoor play look like?  How can practitioners be supported to provide inspirational learning in the outdoors?  Learning outdoors in early childhood is an exciting and rapidly expanding field both in practice and research.  Drawing from the rich heritage of outdoor play in British Nursery School pedagogy, the deep significance of spending abundant time in rich outdoor environments is becoming increasingly evidenced and ever more important in the contexts of contemporary western lives.


Digging into what makes a good outdoor environment for young children

Created for professionals working in the early childhood field who have a strong interest in playing and learning outdoors, this double MA module provides an extensive opportunity to investigate the main theories and pedagogies relevant to contemporary educational practice outdoors and introduces the relevant issues and debates, encouraging critical and independent appraisal.  Both content and assignments present opportunities to acquire the theory base and knowledge that will enable participants to develop their practice with greater understanding, awareness and critical insight, and include:

  • Child development and the foundational role of experience outdoors
  • Learning and well-being theories and their application in practice outdoors in early childhood
    • Pioneers and models of early childhood outdoor provision and pedagogy
    • Understandings of space and place through environment and landscape disciplines
    • International perspectives and the provocations they pose for contesting practice in the UK
    • Reflection, evaluation and action research on current provision and practice.


Taking time to think things through

I have has designed and facilitated this course which will be carried out over one year as distance learning with five training days at the Centre for Research in Early Childhood (CREC) in Birmingham. This new double module will provide a postgraduate certificate carrying 60 credits, and the subjects introduced can be further researched towards an MA Education (Early Years) – it will be possible to do a whole Masters on Being, Playing and Learning Outdoors!”

Further information and the dates of the training days (starting this year on 1st October 2012) are available on the Centre for Research in Early Childhood (CREC) website www.crec.co.uk 

To find out more about my work, please visit my web/blog site at janwhitenaturalplay.wordpress.com

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One Comment

  • Alison

    Hi Jan, I am starting my masters in early years at the crec centre in October. I would love to hear more about your work and references that I may read before I start my first module on outdoor play.

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