Jan White Natural Play

Natural Play, Natural Growth, in the Early Years

Training by Jan White

My Best Course nomination!

I was delighted to find one of my training workshops nominated as ‘My Best Course’ in Nursery World magazine (29 July-11 August 2013, p36) by Nina Taylor – thanks so much Nina!  Here is what she told them:

There are many exciting possibilities when it comes to developing the outdoors for holistic learning, as Nina Taylor has discovered.

On a chilly, wet afternoon in February, preschool practitioner and lecturer Nina Taylor attended an outdoor learning workshop offered by Hampshire County Council.  Ms Taylor reports that the three-hour session, delivered by outdoor expert Jan White, has had a lasting impact on her practice and her setting.

‘Around 30 of us gathered at an outdoor centre in a local village and had a really brilliant afternoon’, she says.  ‘Jan offered insights on how outdoor learning provides a full and rich environment that satisfies young children’s need for exploration and creativity.  This is based on what she calls her six main ingredients, where children are afforded the chance to be physical, noisy, messy, interact with nature and engage with the type of spontaneous and creative play that might be frowned on indoors.  At the same time, Jan emphasised it is not sufficient to merely transpose the indoor classroom outside.  Instead, it is important to harness the special qualities of the natural environment in order to provide the resources children need for a holistic experience that will facilitate their disposition for learning.’

Since attending the workshop, Ms Taylor has carefully examined and reviewed her own provision and reflected on what is provided and how the children use it.  ‘Although it is relatively small, it does provide diverse opportunities, and it occurred to me that our provision includes many of Jan’s key ingredients and the children use them in creative and exploratory ways,’ she says.  Ms Taylor has also been considering how to extend the children’s experiences beyond this. ‘Our future plans include using out tyres more productively to grow grass or other seeds and providing large canopies, such as sheeting or plastic, for painting,’ she says.  Further information  https://janwhitenaturalplay.wordpress.com

Jan’s Natural Play in Early Childhood talk available to watch online!

I was honoured to be invited to speak at the Save Childhood Movement‘s launch conference, The Flourish Summit, in London on April 27th and 28th 2013.  I am an advisor for the movement, and will be working on the Children and Nature strand of the Flourish Programme.  This brings together my two lifetime passions of Nature and Childhood, and this connection seems ever more obvious and imperative.  Nature nurtures children and childhood, and nature needs children who are both attached and able to take care of it.

My talk was titled Natural Play in Early Childhood: nurturing deep foundations for a lifetime of connection with nature, and I spoke about the simplicity of bringing rich, meaningful and satisfying nature experiences into any early years setting, through offering 12 wonderful suggestions.  I have since elaborated upon this material at Early Excellence’s regional conferences and have had several requests to spread these messages more widely through future conferences.  All the Flourish talks are now available to watch here (mine is on Sunday 28th) – you do need to register but it is very simple.

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