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Outdoor Play is the Focus of Two Educational Conferences This Year

01/05/2010 This month sees children's play experts converge on Birmingham for the second Outdoor Learning and Play Conference hosted by Nursery World magazine.

Last year's event was a sell-out success, and the 2010 conference, which takes place on May 12, promises to build on these firm foundations and aims to discuss the best way in which nurseries, schools and play groups can make the most of their outdoor space to enable the best of children's play activities.

It will also explore the most innovative ways to give children the best outdoor play experience and experts will be on hand to explain why outdoor play is so important to the wellbeing and development of children. The government's Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) has placed great value on outdoor spaces for play activities, making it a core requirement of the national curriculum, and Nursery World said that it is proud to be part of this process.

Topics to be discussed at the conference include:

  • Match the Quality of Your Outside Space with That of Your Inside Space: Encourage Free Flow Play and Independent Learning
  • Connect Your Outdoor Space with the Six Areas of Learning
  • Define the Role of the Adult in Supporting Good Quality Play Outdoors
  • Observe and Assess Children Correctly In Your Outdoor Space to Make Informed Changes to Planned Activities

There will also be a number of workshops, allowing delegates to share their expertise on:

  • Making the Most of the Most Restricted Spaces
  • Exploring the Practicalities and Benefits of Forest Schools
  • Finding Alternative Spaces Where Children Have the Opportunity
  • to Play Outside
  • Keeping Hazards at a Minimum Without Limiting Outdoor Play
  • Engaging Boys and Girls Outdoors and Helping Them to Make Significant and Continued Progress
  • Providing Under Threes with a Safe and Accessible Outdoor Environment
  • Cost-Effectively Introducing Natural Resources & Open-Ended Equipment That Promotes Sustainability & Supports a Child's Learning
  • Making Outdoor Play Fun & Possible In All Types of Weather

The magazine quoted delegates from last year's event, who declared that its "passionate, knowledgeable speakers were inspiring and interesting to listen to," and said that this year's gathering, at the Holiday Inn in Central Birmingham, has secured a variety of expert speakers, including early years consultants Marjorie Ouvry, Jan White, Linda Bentley and Stella Louis, plus Reading University's PGCE Primary Course Director Helen Bilton.

Later in the year, York plays host to a special conference organised by the Pre-School Learning Alliance with discussions and debates on outdoor play.

The event takes place on September 16 at the Snowball Plantation Scout and Cub Camp, and organisers have set its seminars and workshops outdoors, with themes based around the four elements of earth, air, fire and water.

The keynote speaker for the event will be leading education expert Helen Tovey, but the real star of the event will be the great outdoors itself, with Snowball Plantation set in 17 acres of mature woodland, with a diverse range of plants and animals.

Although the conference begins indoors, it will soon move outside, and organisers are telling everyone to come prepared for whatever the elements might hurl at them!









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