Nature Play WA has an established record of delivering engaging and innovative professional development for teachers, emphasising the role of play-based learning in a balanced curriculum, and offering a wealth of tools, resources and support for teachers to implement play-based learning in their schools and early learning centres.
With COVID-19 making the delivery of face-to-face professional learning opportunities more challenging, Nature Play WA, with the support of the Education Department of Western Australia, have developed five FREE webinars (that will be available to watch as videos after their original screening), providing a pathway for teachers to design and develop outdoor learning and play opportunities for their students, and to educate parents in the importance of outdoor play and learning for their children.
Our Outdoor Learning Webinars are designed to give teachers the power to deliver ‘playful learning’ - learning through time outdoors - and provide a valuable resource for educators who value outdoor time but need tools and direction for facilitating enriching experiences. The webinars highlight the importance of play-based learning in a balanced curriculum for kindergarten and pre-primary and primary-aged students, and exemplifying to schools the role of play-based learning in the early years and throughout primary school.
Webinar 1: Providing outdoor learning and play opportunities for children
“These have been the best days of our lives”!
The first webinar in the series introduces the benefits of the outdoor environment for learning and the positive effects on children’s holistic development. The Early Years Learning Framework and Dimensions of Learning in the Australian Curriculum recognise that children’s learning is integrated and should focus on connections to the natural world where there is opportunity for activity exploration and discovery. Being outside daily stimulates children’s thinking and creativity in ways not possible inside a classroom. How educators can set expectations around learning and assess risk will be discussed along with the notion of children leading their learning through projects, play and inquiries.
Date: Tuesday, 22nd September, 2020
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Webinar 2: Observing seven ways children play and learn outside
“Let’s go on an adventure”!
Have you noticed children’s preferences for small worlds, imagination and adventure in their play? In our second webinar, David Sobel’s Outdoor Play Motifs will be introduced, and teachers will be encouraged to consider children’s perspectives and observe these seven different types of play. We will consider how to create inviting spaces in the outdoor environment and touch on how these play types can be harnessed for learning. The General Capabilities in the Western Australian Curriculum, National Quality Standard and the Early Years Learning Framework all highlight the importance of collaboration and shared experiences outdoors.
Date: Tuesday, 13th October, 2020
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Webinar 3: Resourcing effective outdoor play and learning with loose parts
“What can we make with these?”
Loose Parts play is an engaging and motivating way for children to utilise a range of repurposed and natural materials as resources for outdoor play and learning. The open-ended, sensory and multipurpose nature of loose parts invites inventiveness and problem-solving as well as the opportunity to create. Children can explore loose parts to follow their interests and sense of wonder to design their own projects. We explore the role of the educator in entending play with loose parts, and address questions around storage, management, supervision and organisation of materials.
Date: Thursday, 22nd October, 2020
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Webinar 4: Implementing outdoor play and learning
The fourth webinar provides an overview of the Dimensions of Outdoor Learning from the Australian Curriculum. There is a strong focus on developing skills and knowledge, developing relationships between children and nature, sustainability and most importantly, wellbeing! We will also talk about opportunities for incorporating digital technology in enhancing the outdoor learning and play experiences with the Nature Passport App and dusciss ideas for implementing the Outdoor Classroom Day movement at your school. From here, you are ready to go and start your play-based outdoor learning!
Date: Tuesday, 27th October, 2020
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Webinar 5 (for parents): Creating unforgettable memories for families
“Let’s go out and have some fun!”
The final webinar in our series features Nature Play WA CEO, Griffin Longley, in conversation about how parents can create special memories through taking their children outside and sharing experiences. He encourages parents to advocate for outdoor play and learning at their children’s school.
Date: Wednesday, 4th November, 2020
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Trudi grew up finding both solace and adventure in her backyard and local bushland. She studied both Sustainable Development and Education and has worked with a variety of organisations in science communication, community development and the arts. Recently Trudi has been a primary school and kitchen garden teacher at Bold Park Community School in Western Australia. It was here she practiced observing and listening to children to identify their needs and established project-based learning opportunities. While there she also began utilising natural resources and spaces for environmental art and social connection. As a result, Trudi became increasingly passionate about teaching children in the outdoors. She continues to explore and observe how the building of cubby villages provides a way for children to grow independence and a sense of ownership, while working together as a community.
Daniel is a qualified primary school teacher and passionate nature connection mentor. He considers himself an advocate for connecting children with the natural world, following children’s inbuilt sense of wonder and curiosity as the vehicle to inspire the process of inquiry based learning. Having worked at Bold Park Community School for 10 years he has had experience developing, managing and coordinating outdoor classrooms and Wild Spaces with various age groups. Daniel has had the privilege of participating in conferences focused on nature-based education and 21st century teaching philosophies both locally and internationally.
Denise is an experienced early childhood and level 3 classroom teacher. In 2015 she was the recipient of a National Excellence in Teaching Award. She is an advocate for play-based outdoor learning in, about, and with nature. Currently employed at Nature Play WA, Denise will act as the moderator for this series of webinars.
Griffin Longley is the CEO of Nature Play WA, an award-winning journalist, a former weekly columnist with The West Australian Newspaper, the founder of a program for at risk kids called Night Hoops, and was an inaugural Board Member of the WA Parks Foundation.
Griffin was a finalist in the 2017 Western Australia Australian of the Year Awards in the Local Hero category and was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2018.
Nature Play is a not-for-profit organisation with a growing international reputation for innovative programs that increase awareness of the benefits of unstructured play outdoors and has spread to South Australia, Queensland and the ACT.