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Thrive Outdoors Conference 2022 - Inspiring Scotland

Thrive Outdoors Conference 2022

Growing outdoors and nature-based play within and across all registered Early Learning and Childcare settings – Nurseries, Childminding and Out-of-School Care

Growing the Ambition Together

Thrive Outdoors are excited to be hosting our first Outdoor Early Learning & Childcare Conference ‘Growing the Ambition Together’ on May 5th and 7th 2022. 

We know that playing outdoors enhances learning and is fundamental for children and young people to thrive in health, wellbeing and development. The notion of Outdoor Play and Learning in Scotland has progressed significantly in recent years but there is still work to do to ensure that all children can experience high quality outdoor opportunities.

It is our shared responsibility to support and enable all of Scotland’s children and young people to access our diverse greenspaces and natural landscapes and to empower them to enjoy these spaces for the purposes of playing and learning. We commit to working together to meet these responsibilities Scotland’s Outdoor Play & Learning Coalition Position Statement 

With this in mind, we have two exciting days planned to harness existing practice and grow the movement of outdoor play and learning in Scotland. 

Online event: Thursday 5th May

Join us on Thursday 5th May for our online conference, held on Zoom, with a great line up of inspiring keynote speakers from the world of outdoor learning, including both Scottish and International speakers.  

Aimed at managers, policy and decision-makers, this day will look at how we can embed outdoors and nature-based play in Scotland; working together to grow our ambition of quality outdoor experiences for all. 

The morning will offer the opportunity to explore the topics of risky and adventurous play, quality outdoor experiences and connection to nature through keynote presentations and interactive breakouts. 

The afternoon programme of panel debates brings together leaders and academics to consider how we can grow and embed outdoors and nature-based play in all our registered services – nurseries, childminders and School Age Childcare. 


In person event: Saturday 7th May

This day is all about practitioners! Join us at Falkland Estate in Fife for a day of outdoor learning. 

This full day of outdoor-based workshops will offer a range of practical, hands-on, training for practitioners, who will leave with plenty of ideas and resources, plus the confidence to make a real difference to their outdoor learning practice. 

It is a day for those working in nursery, out-of-school care and childminding settings to come together with leaders from the registered outdoor sector to learn new skills and gather new ideas in outdoor play. 


  • Supporting Schemas Outdoors with Loose Parts Play – Gordon and Jane from Learning through landscapes: 60 mins (Am only)
  • Wee green fingers – Bonnie from Scottish Forestry: 60 mins (Am only)
  • Supporting autonomy in children with additional needs outdoors – Dr. Alexia Barrable and Samantha Friedman from University of Dundee and University of Cambridge: 60 mins (Am only)
  • An intro to fire ; Cooking with fire – Simon from Broxburn Family Centre: 90 mins. (Am and Pm)
  • Den building, knots, and swings – Nathan from Broxburn Family Centre: 90 mins. (Am and Pm)
  • Messy Maths – Cameron from Stramash: 90 mins. (Am and Pm)
  • Place based planning – Rich from Stramash: 60 mins. (Am and Pm)
  • Risk and reward – the benefits of risky play – Hamish and Victoria from Baltic St Adventure Playground: 90 Mins (Am and Pm)
  • Outdoor Journeys – Sally York: 60- 90 Mins (Am and Pm)
  • The potential of your space – Dawn and Stepanka from Mucky Boots Education: 60 Mins (Am and Pm)
  • Outdoor Learning on the Go – Louise and Roz from Little Bugs Nursery: 2hrs (Am and Pm)
  • Loose Parts Play – Sharon and Jackie from Fife Play Resource: 90 mins (Am and Pm)
  • Nature threading – Caroline from RBGE: 60 mins (Am and Pm)
  • What does Rights Based Practice look like and why is it so important? – Chris from FossoPlay and Children’s Parliament: 90 mins (Am and Pm)
  • That’s not a stick! Meeting the Early Years curriculum Experiences and Outcomes with natural materials – Zoe from Earthtime4All; 60 mins (Am and Pm)
  • Creating and using resources for storytelling and imaginative play – Janet from Earthtime4All ; 90 mins (Am only)

As we will be based outdoors all day, it is important to dress for our wonderful Scottish weather. We will provide a healthy lunch, along with tea and coffee throughout the day to keep your nourished and energised (play is tiring work!). You will also receive a goodie bag with our Loose Parts Play Toolkit and a notebook for capturing all the new outdoor knowledge! 

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