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Thrive Conference Workshops Saturday 7 May - Inspiring Scotland

In person workshops - Saturday 7 May 2022

We have a host of workshops planned featuring local and national experts.

Dens, Knots, Swings and Slacklines

Presenter: Nathan MacGillivray, Broxburn Family Centre
90 mins. (Am and Pm)

A few simple ideas for dens and maybe even a hammock to relax in. We will demonstrate the knots you might use when playing outside with children. We will consider the type of rope and swings you might use – so not only can you be confident when they are in full swing that the knot will hold, but you can also take them down easy! We will also look at slacklines: how to use them and how we might adapt them for a more playful slackline course.

Intro to Fire / Cooking with Fire

Presenter: Simon Henderson, Broxburn Family Centre
90 mins (Am and Pm)

This workshop aims to inspire you to bring fire into your play setting.?You will have the opportunity to light a fire whilst considering how to manage the fire appropriately with children of different ages.?We will look at what and how to cook on the fire and offer a few ideas that don’t include marshmallows!

Loose Parts Play

Presenters: Sharon Faulkner and Jackie Bell, Play Practice Development Team, Fife Council
90 mins (Am and Pm)

This interactive workshop will provide an opportunity to engage in playing with a variety of different kinds of loose parts. Participants will gain a practical understanding of how loose parts play can contribute to richer play environments and quality play experiences for children and young people.


Messy Maths

Presenters: Cameron Sprague and Rich Mitchell, Stramash Outdoor Nurseries
90 mins (Am and Pm)

This workshop will be an introduction to Juliet Robertson’s wonderful book Messy Maths. We will present a mix of practical ideas that you can use and help recognise maths that are already occurring within your setting. We will look at the 5 R’s laid out in Messy Maths, and the session will be a space to share ideas with others.

Nature Threading

Presenter: Caroline Walsh, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
60 mins (Am and Pm)

Get hands on with Caroline, the Early Years Outdoor Learning Officer at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh for a creative session. You will collect some natural materials such as leaves, sticks and pinecones and incorporate things like shells to use in your nature threading piece. This mindful exercise helps connect to nature as you create a unique art piece from natural materials and is loved by children of all ages.

Outdoor Learning on the Go

Presenters: Louise Licznerski andRosslyn Mullin, Little Bugs Outdoor Nurseries
2 hours (Am and Pm)

After a brief introduction to outdoor learning in the early years, Louise and Rosslyn from Little Bugs Outdoor Nurseries get hands on with a demonstration of how to set up a base camp – including tarps, shelters and toileting/hand washing. They’ll cover the guidance to keep children safe, how to be mindful of your setting and collect resources, and provide other ideas for outdoor activities.

Place-Based Planning

Presenters: Rich Mitchell and Cameron Sprague, Stramash Outdoor Nurseries
90 mins (Am and Pm)

In this introduction to Stramash Place-Based Planning, we’ll look at how caring and connecting with a place can be used to plan Curriculum for Excellence for children in the Early Years. Some practical activities, sharing of stories and the journey, and plenty of time for questions and discussions.

Potential of your Space

Presenters: Dawn Ewan and Stepanka Quadhir Mocova, Mucky Boots Education
60 Mins (Am and Pm)

In this workshop, we will look at the play potential in natural and manmade spaces and consider how a practitioner or teacher can support free play and facilitate further learning. We will make links to the curriculum and collectively fill a backpack with resource suggestions. We will also reflect on how free play can support ‘flipped learning’.   

Risk and Reward: The Benefits of Risky Play

Presenters: Hamish Orr and Victoria Scott, Baltic Street Adventure Playground
90 Mins (Am and Pm)

In this workshop we’ll do a hands on exploration of risky play and why it should be an essential part of your setting, covering the different types of risky play, their benefits and how to be more comfortable with young people taking risks.

Supporting autonomy in children with additional needs outdoors

Presenters: Dr. Alexia Barrable and Samantha Friedman
60 mins (Am only)

This workshop will briefly review the research on the experiences of children with additional needs in nature, with a particular focus on autistic children. We will then discuss practical advice and best practice suggestions for working with children with additional needs in a range of nature-based settings and provide opportunities for participants to share their own experiences and ask questions.   

Supporting Schemas Outdoors with Loose Parts Play

Presenters: Jane Mackenzie and Gordon MacLean, Learning through Landscapes
60 mins (Am only)

This workshop will explore schemas, using loose parts outdoors to develop practitioner’s confidence and understanding of schema play and build relationships with their learners.

That's not a stick! Meeting the Early Years curriculum Experiences and Outcomes with natural materials

Presenter: Zoe Sills, Earthtime For All
60 mins (Am)

This workshop looks at how we can meet the Early Years curriculum Experiences and Outcomes with natural materials but how we can creatively (and sometimes obviously) use nature’s treasures to achieve quality, measurable learning outcomes for children. In other words, exploring the infinite possibilities for children to learn and achieve without walls, tables, chairs, pens or paper!

Outdoor Journeys

Presenter: Sally York
60-90 Mins (Am and Pm)

Journeys to, from and in the outdoors are part of the ‘awe and wonder ‘inspiration we get from being outside. This workshop will discover ways in which you can encourage observation, curiosity and imagination on your outdoor journeys.

What does Rights Based Practice look like and why is it so important?

Presenter: Chris McConnell, Fosso Play
90 mins (Am and Pm)

This workshop will consider what ‘Rights Based Practice’ means, why it matters and what it can look like in different settings. We’ll look at the UNCRC within a practice context, using practical tools and linked to national legislation and guidance in Scotland, and discuss how we can realise the rights for children every day through our child interactions and pedagogy. We will also consider how our personal and professional experiences inform the way we work and how our values can influence our practice. This activity and discussion based workshop will include open, and potentially, challenging discussion, so open minds and respectful words are essential

Wee Green Fingers

Presenter: Bonnie Maggio, Scottish Forestry
60 mins (Am only)

We will consider gardening for biodiversity and how to introduce this to young children using the Wee Green Fingers resource. We will look at practical tips for sowing and planting and there will be opportunity for questions.

Creating and using resources for storytelling and imaginative play

Presenter: Janet Cowie- Earthtime For All

1.5 hrs (PM only)


Ideas for supporting children with storytelling resources including the opportunity to make your own characters out of wood, incorporating some simple tool use, a bit of art/craft and design (no judgement on levels of creativity!).

Book your ticket

Buy tickets to the Practitioner Workshops, Saturday May 7th in Falkland, Fife.

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We work with experts from the voluntary, public, private and academic sectors. Get in touch if you want to help us build a better Scotland.

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