The National Centre for Outdoor Play, Learning and Wellbeing

Early Childhood Outdoors (ECO) is a social enterprise seeking to increase the amount and quality of outdoor experience for young children across the UK, through collaborative and enabling work with a wide range of development, teaching, research and design organisations providing support in this field, in order to maximise impact.

With the vision of more children thriving outdoors, more often and for longer, benefiting from richer and more meaningful environments offering authentic, rewarding and satisfying experiences, it aims to connect organisations and individuals, to build support capacity, and to deepen the pedagogy of being, playing and learning outdoors.

Why the dandelion logo? by Professor Jan White

The dandelion is a symbol and a metaphor.

The reason I love dandelions professionally – because they make such stunning play materials, especially when available in abundance:

  • Collecting them feeds our ancient foraging instincts, so visible in children’s play
  • Arranging them in jam jars is wonderfully satisfying
  • They make excellent jewellery – easier and better than daisies
  • The heads and stems taken apart lend themselves to pattern and picture making (see also the adult artworks of Andy Goldsworthy and Marc Pouyet)
  • Crushing and using the yellow pigment from flowers and green colour from leaves can contribute to much petal perfume making and cocktail creating.  
  • The milky sap is good for potions and spells, and the roots are interestingly vegetable-like
  • They are excellent for garnishing mud pies and other mud kitchen cookery, and have real cooking potential since the whole plant is edible.

Read more about Jan's love of dandelions here:

And if you'd like to read a  doting dandelion dedication, the post on the Muddyfaces site 'We love dandelions' is perfect for anyone who can see the exceptional in the everyday things around us:

Professor Jan White

Working across the UK and internationally, Jan is a leading thinker and writer on outdoor play and advocate for high quality outdoor provision for services for children from birth to seven.

She is an honorary Professor of Practice with the University of Wales Trinity St David and strategic director of Early Childhood Outdoors, the National Centre for Outdoor Play, Learning and Wellbeing.  With thirty years’ experience in education, she has developed a deep commitment to the consistently powerful effect of the outdoors on young children.

Jan is currently an Early Education Associate, convenor of the Landscapes for Early Childhood national network, and provides training courses, conference keynotes and consultancy for a wide range of early years settings.

Professor Jan White is also an award-winning author of Playing and Learning Outdoors: making provision for high quality experiences in the outdoor environments with children 3-7

Her website is

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