Jan White Natural Play

Natural Play, Natural Growth, in the Early Years

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All About the Outdoors

An award winning series of 3 DVDs about play, learning & development outdoors for the under threes

(Nursery World Awards 2011, Staff Resources Winner)

 These three films look at the benefits of time spent outdoors, each focusing on a specific age group. Each concentrates on a year in children’s lives – 0 to 12 months, 12 to 24 months and 24 to 36 months. The films are divided into sections as children of gradually increasing ages are watched going about their work outside. The commentary explains what’s happening from the child’s point of view.

The films as a whole:-

  • Link theory with practice
  • Inspire and embed learning on key topics
  • Have versatile, short sections with clear summaries
  • Are a multi-layered resource for use at many levels
  • Encourage reflective practice
  • Can be watched with or without commentary
  • Are ideal for practicing observations

They include:

  • Learning & development from 0 – 3
  • Sensitive adult-child interactions 
  • Child led learning in action 
  • Rich & varied experiences
  • Diversity in environments, ethnicity & language

‘The three DVDs provide spectacular insights into the opportunities that the outdoor environment offers for children in their earliest years. At a time when budgets are restricted spending choices have to be made carefully. These high quality resources are a must for any trainer to purchase.’ – Marion Dowling, Author and Vice-President of Early Education

‘It is hard to overstate the benefits to children of being in outdoor spaces once one has seen these films.  They really demonstrate powerfully how natural environments and outdoor play areas in the nursery can fulfill all the child’s learning needs.  The adults they are with are skilled and knowledgeable and offer long periods of time and space to their babies, toddlers and two year olds.  Nature itself becomes the teacher.  The films are challenging and will allow adults to question their own practice.  The extremely comprehensive notes, by Jan White, give helpful prompt questions for developing practice.  I have used clips from these films on in-service training and would recommend them highly.’ – Marjorie Ouvry, Early Years Specialist and Author

Available to purchase from Siren Films [please use reference number JW2011] – http://www.sirenfilms.co.uk/products/dvd-sets/all-about-the-outdoors

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Two Year Olds Outdoors: play, learning and development


What is it that really motivates two year olds? How do they learn best and how can we help them achieve their full potential? Through observing what children are interested in at this stage of their lives this film gives real insight into why spending time outdoors is essential for their holistic development.

Following six children of gradually increasing ages we’ll see that movement is still an intrinsic part of learning for this age group. As the children follow their interests we can see and hear them making new connections as they experiment and come up with new ideas. Outdoors they are clearly motivated to learn at a deep level.

During this year the children’s language, imagination and social skills are really taking off. The film focuses on these developments as so much of their time outdoors is spent developing these skills in an environment that is full of possibilities.

The film is packed with fascinating examples of children’s interactions with the environment, natural materials, other children and adults.

What becomes clear is that there is so much variety outdoors that each child can seek out the experiences that stimulates them most giving them a sense of wellbeing. Collectively, the six children highlight the behavioural and developmental characteristics of this age group.

The film is divided into six sections, which can be watched separately if needed.

  • Tristan with mum – 2 years 4 months
  • Skye at nursery – 2 years 6 months
  • Sheja at nursery – 2 years 8 months
  • Leila at nursery – 2 years 9 months
  • Erin at nursery – 2 years 11 months
  • Jordan at nursery – 3 years

Made in conjunction with Jan White an early years specialist. She has also written the accompanying notes (60 pages) which link developmental theory with practice and expand on information given in the film.

62 mins

‘Perfect for promoting the power of the outdoors and the learning potential for children of simple, natural materials. There are excellent examples of how children make connections, recall and drive their own learning.  It really shows the individual learning journey over time.

Equally good is the material on personal and positive relationships.  It’s great to see boys engaged with resources that interest them and supported by adults who are genuinely interested in what engages them.  I also like the way it shows that these young children do not need adults close by all the time and shows how they play and talk together.

This film shows really useful footage on two year olds – often an overlooked and under-estimated age band- a much needed resource.’ – Jennie Lindon, Early Years Specialist and Author

Available for purchase at Siren Films [please use reference number JW2011] – http://www.sirenfilms.co.uk/products/documentary-films/the_two_year_old_outdoors

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Toddlers Outdoors: play, learning and development

Toddlers thrive outside. The special nature of the outdoors suits their interests down to the ground, yet for this age group the value of play is probably least understood.

This captivating footage shows clearly what’s so special about the outdoors and why it’s essential for toddlers. It also shows how and why adults are so vital to their experiences outside.

By following six one year olds as they play outside, this film illustrates the rich experiences that are important to them. It shows what toddlers want and need to do.

By getting to know each child we’ll see what sort of things interest them most, and why. Through watching them we see what is going on for them physically, emotionally, socially and cognitively as links are made to child development for the second year of life.

What becomes evident is that they all broadly follow the same developmental trends but that each has his or her own particular schematic themes or patterns of action. It makes clear that movement and exploration is the focus for this year and that experiences develop both the brain and the body inseparably.

This film will make adults want to take toddlers outside as we see the children’s delights and discoveries so obviously helping their well being, learning and development.

The film is divided into six sections, which can be watched separately if needed.

  • Liam with mum-13 months
  • Abolfazal at nursery -15 months
  • Michael at nursery -15 months
  • Yasmine at nursery -18 months
  • Jaleel at nursery -20 months
  • Daisy with auntie -22 months

The film has been made in conjunction with outdoors specialist Jan White. She has also written the accompanying notes (48 pages).

65 mins

‘… [Toddlers Outdoors] provides such a wealth of information that can be used in so many different ways that it constitutes real value for money. The DVD and notes can be used for personal study, as part of staff a development programme or to share with parents to build their understanding of how to convey many important messages about the sorts of experiences and adult support that young children need in order to thrive.’ – Early Years Update (Issue 77, April 2010)

‘… a real pleasure to watch, with or without soundtrack… Sensitive choice has been made to ensure each unique individual is captured in a natural way but it also, collectively, presents a huge range of children’s interests, schemas and behaviours… I feel it is an invaluable resource for those studying programmes aimed at the 0-5 age phase.  I will use it to promote discussion and stimulate action planning for individual needs.’ – Wendy Thompson, Early Years Professional Programme Leader, University of Hull 

Available to purchase from Siren Films [please use reference number JW2011] – http://www.sirenfilms.co.uk/products/documentary-films/toddlers-outdoors

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Babies Outdoors: play, learning and development


The outdoors is as valuable for babies as it is for older children and this film shows how the close adult can bring the outside world alive for them.

Babies are sensory motor learners and outside all their senses are stimulated by the rich source of sensory experiences. Their physical development is advanced because the rich and varied environment motivates them to move their bodies in many ways.

The film details development of vision, hearing and touch as well as physical development as the babies learn to reach, grasp, sit, crawl and in some cases walk. This is the brain building stuff. Alongside this we see attachments developing. It shows interactions with parents and key people in the nursery as they remain close for all important communication.

The commentary brings out developmental points about communication and emotional development as well as key stages in cognitive development such as object permanence. Complex theories like ‘joint attention’ are made clear as we see it in action.

The film is divided into nine sections, which can be watched separately if needed.

Miles with mum                               6 weeks
Bobby with mum                             3,5 & 7 months
Ko with mum                                   9 months
Lucas at nursery                              11 months
Dexter with mum & dad                  9,11 & 12 months
Made in conjunction with Jan White an early years outdoors specialist. She has also written the accompanying notes (58 pages) which link developmental theory with practice and expand on information given in the film.

53 mins

‘By filming babies from different nationalities and heritage, this DVD demonstrates the universal steps in child development and the common benefits to each baby of being outside and having close attachments. There is often little awareness of the value of an outside environment for young babies and how the close adult can bring the outside world alive. This DVD makes the case so well, simply by showing the possibilities of what can happen and as such it is an essential training resource. New parents will find these clips invaluable and students at all levels will enjoy the case studies and inevitably learn.’  – Marion Dowling, Author and Vice-President of Early Education

Available for purchase from Siren Films [please use reference number JW2011] – http://www.sirenfilms.co.uk/products/products/documentary-films/babies-outdoors