Creating the meshwork through digital means

We greatly missed connecting in person with everyone at our annual professional gathering at the end of March this year.  Given the likely length of the current situation and not wanting to have a repeated postponement, we have decided to wait until next March for the next national gathering in Sheffield.

I’m delighted to be able to let you all know that both of the speakers for this year, Nancy Striniste from the USA and Annie Davy from Oxford, have confirmed that they will be joining us to share their experience and thinking at the Showroom in Sheffield on Saturday 20th March 2021. 

We sincerely hope that this date will work for everyone who currently has a place booked via Eventbrite (just stay with the ticket you already have!) – and that some others may also be able to join us.  If you have any questions, please contact Menna at

Meanwhile I will be posting on this blog over the coming months to update you on aspects of how Early Childhood Outdoors has been developing.  In this one, the focus is on the ways that we have been encouraging connections that create the ECO meshwork via social media.

With enormous thanks to Kathie Brodie (of award-winning Early Years Summit and Early Years TV), we have a lovely little website which gives us a place on the internet at   The website gives our aims and values, and maps out our strands of work in the form of a dandelion seed clock!  It also has an events section and the ECO blog.  We plan to utilise this spring/summer’s downtime to develop its content and facilities – there is much that we can be doing here, with big aspirations for a functional and valuable central hub for the meshwork.

Signing up to the Early Childhood Outdoors website enables meshwork members to receive email alerts for new material on the website, such as events and blog posts – we currently have over 259 people signed up.

I’m really enjoying curating an Early Childhood Outdoors blog that shares developments, experiences and thinking amongst those championing the right of young children to be outdoors – it’s the meshwork speaking to each other.

Since November 2019, the posts have been weekly (going out with an email alert on Friday mornings) and we now have 25 wide-ranging articles sitting on the website.

There are several strands weaving through the posts:

  • Guest posts from consultants, trainers, designers and parents.
  • Guest posts from ECO Pioneer settings and schools, and from organisations championing and supporting playing and learning outdoors.
  • Posts about academic research from university lecturers.
  • Updates of developments and events orchestrated by Early Childhood Outdoors.
  • Video excerpts from the interviews with Kathy Brodie made for the Outdoor Play and Learning Early Years Summit.
  • Video clips in the Siren Films online clip library from their DVDs exploring being outdoors for children from birth to seven.
  • Reviews of great children’s books that support being and playing outdoors.
  • Recommendations for good books for adults to deepen thinking and understanding of strong provision for outdoor play and learning

Please do get in touch if you’d like to contribute an article for the ECO blog!

A great example of how the ECO connections spark new potential is that the article Early Childhood Ireland’s Carol Duffy wrote from the ECO Landscapes for Early Childhood network visit to Farley Outdoor Nurseries in Hampshire and Wiltshire last July (see An Outdoor Nursery for Babies… Really? 31.8.19) has now been shared with early childhood educators across New Zealand in Childspace’s magazine The Space.  What a fine demonstration of our stated aim to “create a meshwork that links people, bodies, organisations and other entities who are working to provide strong outdoor experiences and/or support others”!

Our Facebook page ECO Being Outside is also now very active.  This is a place for sharing and storing useful web-based material from across the meshwork and well beyond – the range of material we are finding is rapidly expanding!  We currently have 296 followers and 273 ‘page likes’ and have several posts most days.  Do have a scroll through, and comment on what you find interesting or provocative.

Our Twitter name is also ECO Being Outside and its handle is @EcoOutside

We’ll be developing the use of Twitter over the coming months.

If you have further ideas or suggestions for how we can harness social media to thicken and extend the ECO meshwork, do please let us know at

Images are © Carol Duffy, Faye Zepeda or Childspace.  Please do not use without written permission.


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