Jan White Natural Play

Natural Play, Natural Growth, in the Early Years


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Mudlark Finds *5: Woodwork in Early Years Education

Mudlarking is the ancient practice of digging in the mud of the Thames to find treasures.  It still goes on today, uncovering and recovering some amazing artefacts from the life of London city through the centuries.  Click on this link for more information about mudlarking.

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Futurelab – Projects Archive – Mudlarking in Deptford

With this section of my website, I want to share some of the many wonderful treasures I dig up while researching and supporting outdoor play for children from birth to seven. I hope they inspire you too, and help you to create motivational, meaningful and satisfying outdoor play experiences for all the children you work with.  Mudlark posts will be brief and to the point.

In updating and expanding my book Playing and Learning Outdoors for its second edition (due out 14th Nov 2013), I was very keen to say more about woodwork and encourage its resurgence in early years education.  Having only found an ancient NAEYC publication from 1984, I thought this lack must be symptomatic of woodwork’s disappearance due to the rise in risk aversion we’ve been suffering from…

woodwork book

And then I discovered the wonderful sculptor and woodworker Pete Moorhouse and his Woodworkworks blog site.  Working as artist in residence with Filton Avenue Nursery School and Children’s Centre in Bristol, Pete has also produced a smashing 80 page book called Woodwork in Early Years Education.  Self-published on blurb, each spread has colour images on one side and very comprehensive advice on the other, and I feel it’s well worth the £20 (+£3 p&P) price.

His writing and practice is very pedagogically sound and I especially like how he emphasises that process is what matters, with open-ended exploration being supported rather than ‘projects’.  I think this book will go a long way to helping woodwork resume its rightful place in early childhood education in the UK.  Pete also offers training – I’m looking forward to arranging for some to be offered round my way up north…


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Mudlark Finds *4: The Garden Classroom

Mudlarking is the ancient practice of digging in the mud of the Thames to find treasures.  It still goes on today, uncovering and recovering some amazing artefacts from the life of London city through the centuries.  Click on this link for more information about mudlarking.

images
Futurelab – Projects Archive – Mudlarking in Deptford

With this section of my website, I want to share some of the many wonderful treasures I dig up while researching and supporting outdoor play for children from birth to seven. I hope they inspire you too, and help you to create motivational, meaningful and satisfying outdoor play experiences for all the children you work with.  Mudlark posts will be brief and to the point.

the garden classroom

Mudlark Find Number 4 is a superb ebook from Cathy James at Nurture Store, The Garden Classroom.  Nurture Store is an absolute treasure trove in itself, and I’ll refer to it again in future.  This book is 114 pages of beautiful images and text that make you want to get stuck into gardening with young children straight away.  Watch this little video for a taster.

As we found with Learning through Landscapes’ Growing Upwards project, you don’t have to know anything to make a start with growing – the very best way to work with children is to be genuinely curious and interested, to wonder and discover alongside, and to treat all ‘mistakes’ positively as ways of learning or getting better at something.  Being involved with the year-long Growing Upwards project convinced me that gardening is deeply important for children and remarkably powerful at developing child-led practice for adults, as well as being chock-full of thinking and learning that uncovers the entire curriculum (whatever that might include) and yields interest all through the year (see here for the findings from the project).

The Garden Classroom ebook is available here as an instant pdf download that is delivered by email, and costs $9.99 (approx £5.60) by Paypal.  Cathy also runs an associated Facebook page.