Jan White

Natural Play in Early Childhood: nurturing deep foundations for a lifetime of connection with nature

“If children are going to care for the earth, then playing and working with the very stuff of existence is a priority.” David Hawkins

Children are born primed and ready to learn, knowing how to learn and what they need to learn about.  The natural world provides endless motivational opportunities for children to explore and play, to build theories and make meaning, and to pose themselves the challenges they need for growth and development in all domains. 

Using images from across the UK and beyond, Jan will show how easy it is to offer rich nature experiences that will enable young children to grow both roots and wings.

Biography

Working across the UK and internationally, Jan is a leading thinker and writer on outdoor play, advocate for high quality outdoor provision for services for children from birth to seven and founder/strategic director of Early Childhood Outdoors, the National Centre for Play, Learning and Wellbeing Outdoors.  With over thirty years’ experience in education, including working with Learning through Landscapes and Early Excellence to develop national support for early years’ outdoor provision, and as an Associate Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam and Birmingham City Universities (CREC), she has developed a deep commitment to the consistently powerful effect of the outdoors on young children. 

She is currently an Associate with Early Education, convenor of the Landscapes for Early Childhood national network, and provides training courses, conference keynotes and consultancy for a wide range of early years settings.  With a childhood love of rocks and soil, leading to a degree in Soil Science, a masters in Ecology and post-graduate teaching certificate in Science and Outdoor Education, she realises that she has always been, at heart, a committed mudologist!

Jan is award-winning author of Playing and Learning Outdoors: making provision for high quality experiences in the outdoor environment with children 3-7 (Routledge 2014), Making a Mud Kitchen (Muddyfaces 2012) and Every Child a Mover (Early Education 2016), editor of Outdoor Provision in the Early Years (Sage 2011), and collaborated with Siren Films to make the award-winning training DVDs Babies Outdoors, Toddlers Outdoors and Two Year-olds Outdoors (Siren Films 2011). 

Her website is janwhitenaturalplay.wordpress.com

Other key speakers

Caroline Eaton
Pete Moorhouse