Schools from Ashfield attend early years conference at Newstead Centre


Teachers and nursery school staff in Nottinghamshire are set to learn the secrets of success for inspiring children to learn using the outdoors.

Nottinghamshire County Council hosts the second Ashfield Early Years Conference today at the Newstead Centre.

The event Muddy Footprints will enable delegates to learn and experiment with innovative ideas to introduce to educational settings – using the great outdoors.

Outdoor education champion John Blaney is the keynote speaker at the event. Mr Blaney is an inspirational teacher from Bridgwater College in Somerset who, having seen the Forest School approach in Scandanavia, has been a driving force nationally in promoting outdoor education.

Children are able to make use of the outdoors to learn in ways which, in some cases, appear to have been forgotten.

The event has been organised by Sarah Unwin, Jane Sayers and Sue O’Donohue, who are from the county council’s Early Years Specialist Teacher Team for Ashfield district, with support from their partners in the local children’s centres.

Representatives from 40 primary schools, 25 nurseries and playgroups as well as all of the local children’s centres, a total of 150 delegates, will come together for the day.

Councillor Liz Plant, Vice-Chairman of the Children and Young People’s Committee, at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “We are delighted that John Blaney will be speaking at the conference to help provide new ideas for teacher and nursery workers to get the very best out of outdoor education in fun and innovative ways.”

A variety of local businesses will attend the event demonstrating and selling resources and displays from local schools such as Bagthorpe School, Mapplewells School, and Hillocks School with examples of the work they have already done in this area.