Despite the limitations on in-person gatherings and face-to-face events since March last year, members of the Early Childhood Outdoors meshwork have clearly been beavering away on our individual and collective missions. Both as individuals, settings or organisations and through working collaboratively, we have stuck to our united vision of more children thriving outdoors, more often and for longer, benefiting from richer and more meaningful environments offering authentic, rewarding and satisfying experiences.
This dedication, along with the desire to think more deeply about what it means to be outdoors with young children, has been very evident through the posts shared by so many people through this blog. Each post shows how the ‘felt-like fabric’ of the meshwork is being made thicker, stronger and harder to pull apart: mainstreaming outdoor play and learning, and ensuring that we never again forget how much is gained from being outdoors for long periods every day, how effective it is as a place for learning, and just how much young children’s brains, bodies and spirits need to be there!
With this first post of the new year, we present an ECO blog review showing the wide range of progress taking place in the UK and Ireland across 2020. By gathering together one post from each month illustrating each of the elements that Early Childhood Outdoors works to support, it becomes easy to see how we are collectively driving forward all of the developments needed to pursue every child’s right to be outdoors.
So, despite how very difficult 2020 has been, I think you’ll agree that we do have cause for celebration in the year that’s passed – and optimism for the year that’s coming. Resilience and hopefulness are, after all, two of the dandelion’s best dispositions!
And while we’re being optimistic… we have been planning for our next ECO professional gathering against the ever-shifting horizon of sufficient lessening of restrictions. We do know that we’ll be outdoors this year, and recommend that you lightly pencil Saturday 10th July into your 2021 diary. More information will be coming as soon as we’re able to be more definite!
January: working therapeutically with the outdoors
February: guest post from a grandparent
March: child development visual training materials for birth to three outdoors
April: guest post from a parent
May: advocacy for 3 hours outdoors a day with a new resource
June: ECO Pioneering Centres – Beatle Woods Outdoor Nursery
Staying true to why we work in the way we do by Rachel Macbeth-Webb
July: training to develop practice outdoors
August: learning from Fröebelian thinking and practice
September: a collaboration that creates a wonderful new facility
October: research digging deeper into what it means to be outdoors
November: Early Years TV Summit on Outdoor Play and Learning interviews with Kathy Brodie
December: forming the meshwork
Wishing everyone the very best for the year to come!