Bringing Children Closer to Nature: Quality Practice Outdoors
The Children’s Wood and Upstart Glasgow Network are delighted to host a day with Kathryn Solly- Specialist Early Years Speaker, Consultant,Trainer and Author.
Following Kathryn’s keynote address we will enjoy workshops including Kathryn leading on “Space, open ended resources and objects outdoors”. Lunch will be cooked on the fire. This event is for early years practitioners and teachers up to P1/2.
More about Kathryn
Kathryn is now a specialist Early Years trainer and consultant working around Britain and internationally. Previously she was the Headteacher of the historic and diverse Chelsea Open Air Nursery School and Children’s Centre for nearly 17 years. However, Kathryn started her pedagogic life as a secondary school teacher on Voluntary Service Overseas in Papua New Guinea for two years. Since then she has taught across all the phases of education in a variety of places including a short time in an Albanian kindergarten. She retrained to teach in the early years and has since achieved a special needs qualification and an M.A. in Early Education and Care.She has travelled widely and studied education and care in Italy, Germany, Iceland, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Aust
Kathryn was awarded the Unilever Fellowship researching aspects of Early Years Leadership and Management in 2006. She has contributed articles to several journals and books on a variety of aspects of young children’s play, teaching and learning. Her first book ‘Adventure, Risk and Challenge in the Early Years’ was published in December 2014. She is an experienced and passionate public speaker, trainer and consultant at home and abroad. She is a Froebel Travelling Tutor, and is Vice Chair of the Early Childhood Forum.
Level 2 Outdoor Cooking and Food Hygiene Course
Spaces are limited. Book Now
Come and join Outdoor Coking and Food Hygiene Trainers, Lorna Ross, Catherine Busson and Julia MacKay for a one day training event in outdoor cooking. You will gain the skills and a Level 2 qualification for cooking and storing food safely in the outdoors.
Children’s Wood Newsletter
Take Me Out
I went along to the Take Me Out training a couple of weeks ago at the House for an Art Lover in Bellahouston Park after being invited by Heather Douglas the Early Years Lead at Glasgow City Council . The course was led by Matt Robinson from Grounds for Learning (in England it’s known as Learning Through Landscapes) and the aim of Take Me Out is to promote a much more proactive approach to getting children outdoors into nature in the early years. They hope to do this by sharing good practice from across Europe and providing resources for people to use.
The Take Me Out project has run for two years, sharing the best practice in outdoor play in Slovakia, Estonia, Denmark and the UK. Developed by Outdoor leaders and practitioners in all partner nations. Through this project they have developed a range of resources and ideas for play and learning outdoors as well as training. Here is a video summarising the learning from this international collaboration.
For those of us who have been immersed in the research and practice for many years a lot of what came out of the day was not new, however what was different was the commitment and passion to really make change. It was brilliant to see the useful and supportive work that came out of the Take Me Out collaboration. The training day allowed us to take a step back and be playful outdoors as well as reflect on good practice, misconceptions about risk and how to get our children playing outdoors in all weathers.
Through my previous work as a Psychology Researcher at The Centre for Confidence and Well-being and my background in working in the early years, I remember learning and writing about the problems of the lack of time outside in nature for children and how they were suffering as a consequence. Back then, over 10 years ago, it was definitely a counter cultural argument and it was difficult to get people to take the issue seriously. This has changed. There is now a much more focused effort to make practical changes to how we think about the outdoors in the early years. This change is thanks to the many people working to spread the word as well as the training and development happening across Scotland and also further afield.
Inspiring Scotland who are a major player in the move to get Scotland’s children outdoors have been collaborating with eight local authorities, thanks to Scottish Government Funding. They are developing outdoor learning as a way to meet the Scottish government’s commitment to a near-doubling of funded childcare. The government has committed to providing 1,140 hours a year for all three- and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds by 2020
Inspiring Scotland in collaboration with Glasgow city council are already implementing this idea in three of its most deprived areas – Castlemilk, Drumchapel and Tollcross . Go2Play, the Jelly Piece Club and Peek are collaborating with the council on these exciting projects to make outdoor learning. It’s so exciting to see real change taking place and that this could make a real and positive difference to the future of many children in Scotland.
At the Children’s Wood we are already supporting local nurseries (and primary schools) to get outside more and we hope that we too will continue to support those local nurseries through this initiative so that more children, especially those who really need it, get this opportunity.
If you are looking to get your children outside more then The Take Me Out handbook is really useful for teachers and educators working in the Early Years, you can download a FREE copy from here
We’re looking forward to disseminating some of the research and ideas to share with you. Keep an eye out on our Facebook Page for more information
We’ve had a busy two weeks back to work, and play, on the land. The playgroups are back on (Wednesday 10-12pm and Friday 11-1pm) and the Saturday Outdoor Play sessions, (10-12pm) Also the schools sessions are back on and Andrea has been busy. Thanks to all the schools for coming to the land and helping the community to get outside more. It’s great to see so many groups coming to the land out with our sessions. Its been lovely snowy and frosty weather. Despite the conditions lots of people have come out to play. Forest School will be starting next week with Dunard Primary school and we have a new volunteer Lynn who will be supporting Andrea in leading the Forest School. Lynn is also Level 3 Forest School trained. School children will be coming to work with Kathleen Friend on the beedookit project – they will be building a periscope so that the bees can be safely observed. We’ll be posting more information about this on the website soon.
We’ve welcomed a group of students from Strathclyde University teacher training department who will be leading some sessions for schools over the next few Mondays. We also have a group of 28 Canadian Academics coming to visit the land – through an inspiring Scotland and Glasgow City Council collaboration on showcasing outdoor learning in Scotland. They will be coming to see what we are doing for supporting and creating opportunities for outdoor play and learning.
Strathclyde University Teacher Training students
Our focus this year is going to be on Mental Health and we hope to do more to support adult mental health in our community. We know that one in four people in Scotland will experience a significant mental health problem and that the financial cost of mental health in Scotland is in excess of £10 billion per year. We hope to play a small part in our community to support the other services already making a difference. We believe that no matter who you are you will benefit from time outside in nature and lots of evidence supports this – getting outside makes you feel good. Also, the great thing about nature is that it has no adverse side effects, apart from the cold!! We’ve already welcomed a group from the Restart project in Maryhill and had a fire together on the land and we hope to do more on for supporting mental health and well-being. The Conservation Volunteers will be leading a 5 Ways to Well-being group on the land starting on Friday 16th February (time TBC) for 4 – 6 weeks. We’ve applied for a joint funding application to continue this project for at least another year. If successful, we will be able to do more for mental health in the area as the TCV will train up people within our community to help to continue to deliver the programme long into the future. We’re continuing our collaboration with Glasgow University and some of the Masters students will be researching various aspects of both community and nature on mental health. We met with them on the land this week. Please get in touch if you are a local doctor or work with groups who could benefit from the targeted sessions. childrenswood@ gmail.com We’ll keep you posted.
Riikka, will be continuing the after school healthy eating programme. The Afterschool Food Club returns on Wednesday 24th January! Sessions will be held at the Kelbourne Street Scouthall from 3.30-4.30. We would love to know how many families are interested in attending, so if you are planning on coming please email email@example.com. There is also an opportunity to volunteer and gain some experience/knowledge in healthy eating; if you are interested, please email us!
Joni is on annual leave so the Wednesday gardening sessions won’t be returning until February. Daniel is around on a Friday and will be working on various jobs including the sensory garden and in the community garden building raised beds. The next Volunteer Action Weekend is the first weekend of February 12-4pm. Come and join us. The more people involved the better
Burns for Bairns – 27th January
Our lovely pal, Children’s Wood supporter and Patron, and all round talented guy Tam Dean Burn will be coming to the Children’s Wood next Saturday 27th of January to perform Burns for Bairns. Bring your lunch and stay on after the Sat am Outdoor Play session for Tam’s 12pm performance. Have a look at Tam’s previous Rabbie Burns reading in the wood from 4 years ago. https://vimeo.com/85288731
Other upcoming information
There are two larger projects happening on the land this year, the beedookit and the the National Theatre for Scotland production of the Play The Reason I Jump a play based on the book by Autistic 13 year old boy who has Autism. The performance will be happening during the last 2 weeks of June. We know how powerful the land can be for people who are on the Autistic Spectrum, we have seen the benefits in terms of language, emotions and behaviour so we are excited to support this project. Do get in touch if you are interested to know more. The Beedookit will be built over the next few months and the bees will be going into the beedookit at the end of March/April.
We are also applying for a building warrant to do up the shed, Alex MacGregor is currently drawing up plans. This means we will have running water a small kitchen and a toilet Yay! We’ll keep you posted as we will have to fundraise to make this happen. Do let us know if you’d like to help raise money by raising for the Children’s wood when doing any charity fundraising events.
There will be the usual community events and other activities happening so we’ll keep you posted.
We are recruiting
Sadly, Jayson is leaving us and moving on to a full time permanent position in Fife. We’d like to send on our best wishes Jayson and his family who have played a part in meadow and wood life over the past few years.We’d like to say thank you Jayson’s hard work over the past few months in this job role. He has implemented some positive changes to the land which make the meadow and wood look even more amazing and he has encouraged more people within the community to get involved.
Sustainable Futures Fundraising Event
Join us for music, poetry, cheese and wine to fundraise for The Childrens Woods new part time paid positions.
Play in the dark training
Thanks to Smart Play Network a ‘play in the dark’ training day will happen in the Children’s Wood on the 3rd of December. East Park school have kindly donated their training room for the indoor part of the training course. Booking is essential – see the form below for more details.
If you work with children and are looking for exciting new activities during the winter months then this course is for you.
This full day practical workshop provides play ideas for the darker months, with a focus on fire play and activities with torches / reflective materials.
The course will be delivered by our experienced play trainers who will share their hints and tips throughout the session.
The workshop will include:
Introduction to outdoor play in the dark.
Practical activities using torches and reflective materials.
Practical activities including candle cookery, cooking on open fire and in cardboard box ovens.
Discussion around the risks and benefits of fire play.
Sharing fears, possible barriers and some easy solutions.
The cost of the course is £65Play in the Dark Booking Form – Dec 15
Forest school training
The Outdoor Learning Club volunteers are undertaking their level 2 Forest School Training tomorrow (Saturday 21st February) and next Saturday (28th February), so they won’t be in the woods to facilitate the club in the morning. The ropes will be left out however, so do come along for an informal outdoor play anyway. OLC volunteers will be back the following week with lots of new skills, excitement and enthusiasm. Have fun playing. Please remember! when on the meadow and in the wood parents are responsible for their children at all times.
Children’s Wood education group
Children’s Wood education group, which is made up of mostly local teachers, have helped to create an education pack as part of Tam’s Book’s on a Bike legacy. We’d like to thank Joni MacKay, Susie Marshall, Anna Cook, Claire Mceachran and Sorcha Dallas. The pack will be on our website soon, and we’ll be handing out some of these activities at our Garden Festival events on the 11th and 23rd of September.
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