Conference 2017

The teachers conference on the 21st September was a great success. The Wilderness Foundation at Chatham Green provided us with a great venue. A diverse range of workshops were provided by Essex Country Parks, The Wilderness Foundation, Coalhouse Fort, RHS Hyde Hall, Essex Wildlife Trust, Lee Valley Regional Park, Essex Outdoors, FSC Epping Forest and Wat Tyler. A huge thank you to Jenna, Louise and Michelle for their organising and chasing of payments and all the workshop leaders for giving their time and expertise. We got great feedback from teachers who attended, quotes included:

“Same place, same time next year please. It is very rare I go on a day’s development and enjoy every minute.”
“Thank-you I had an amazing day and have acquired some good ideas.”
“Very practical and full of actual ideas to use.”
“Very informative and enjoyable. I feel inspired to go back and try some activities for myself.”
“Some very inspiring speakers.”

If you are interested in hosting next year’s conference please speak to a member of the committee. If you are teacher and interested in attending next year’s conference please watch this space for more details.

Conference 2016

The conference was held at Cressing Temple Barns on 29th September 2016.  With 100 delegates attending, it was a busy day full of great workshops and speakers.  The day started with our guest speaker Chris Holland.
Chris Holland is a leading inspiration in the field of nature connection and creative outdoor learning for families, schools and businesses in the UK and increasingly worldwide. He has a BSc in Environmental Science, has been involved in outdoor learning for 20 years, and became a self employed educator in 2001. He is an author and prize winning photographer and a “world class” didgeridoo player too. Chris has many things in his teaching bundle including a natural talent for working with groups of people, telling stories, sharing bushcraft skills, foraging, creating environmental art and playing the didgeridoo.
Chris’s speech on Natural Flow Learning, showed us how to explore a model of how we can use natural cycles and directions in our practice to inform and inspire wholistic and connective learning.
Workshops then started consisting of some great outdoor inspiration including Sticktastic, Nature Art, Natural Musicians and Geocaching.  After a lovely lunch provided by Tiptree tearooms, the afternoon workshops included Barefoot Walk, Classification in the Curriculum, Pi, Pythagoras and Problem Solving, Plants with a Purpose and Magic of Minibeasts. All the workshops were run by our network of outdoor providers Essex Wildlife Trust, RHS Hyde Hall, Country Parks, Field Studies Council, Coalhouse Fort, R&H Services and Lee Valley.
During the afternoon the conference finale was a presentation by Ms White of All Saints School, Maldon.  Ms White presented the group with their schools’ journey in establishing outdoor learning.  It was both beneficial and inspirational.
Evaluation comments from the day include:
“Lots of fantastic ideas to take back and share across the school”
“I thought the whole day was wonderful – really informative.  Thank-you.”
“Some great ideas to share back at school and lots of ways to adapt activities”
We are looking forward to planning our next conference so watch this space for details!