Category: Training

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.

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


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.

Forest School Sessions

Forest School Sessions

9th March