Outdoors Thinking

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Professor Jan White

renowned author and public speaker.

Co-founder of Outdoors Thinking alongside Liz Edwards and Janet Packer, Professor Jan White has worked both nationally and internationally as an independent consultant. She advocates for high quality outdoor provision for services for children from birth onwards, with a particular focus on their early years. With thirty years’ experience of working in education, Jan has developed a deep understanding of the consistently powerful effect of the outdoors on young children and their holistic development.

Having worked on the concepts behind the Certificate in Outdoor Practice for many years, Professor Jan White is immensely passionate about the delivery of her courses and the importance of ensuring that they are of the highest quality

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Jan is also Co-founder of Early Childhood Outdoors (ECO) 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.

The Aims of Early Childhood Outdoors

  1. Create a meshwork to link people, bodies, organisations and other entities who are working to provide strong outdoor experiences and/or support others.
  2. Build capacity for outdoor experiences - Encourage and support consultants and centres to encourage and support providers to create effective, rich and rewarding outdoor experiences for all children.
  3. Build Pedagogic Practices - Push the boundaries of outdoor provision and practice. Dig into what it means to provide education through play outdoors.
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Having played key roles in developing Learning through Landscapes’ support for the early years sector and Early Excellence’s Stepped Approach to Quality Outdoors, Jan is currently an Early Education founding associate, associate with Playwise, pedagogical adviser for PlayGarden and mentor to Sandfield Natural Play Centre. Jan co-founded and facilitates the UK network Landscapes for Early Childhood and is a representative to the World Forum Foundation for the Global Collaborative OnDesign for Children working group.

Author of Playing and Learning Outdoors: making provision for high quality experiences in the outdoor Environment (Routledge, 2008) and Making a Mud Kitchen (Muddy Faces 2012), editor of Outdoor Provision in the Early Years (Sage, 2011) and she collaborated with Siren Films to make the training DVDs Babies Outdoors, Toddlers Outdoors and Two Year-olds Outdoors (Siren Films, 2011).



“Jan is the UK ‘guru’ on outdoor learning and I have worked with her on many projects, both in the UK and internationally. Jan is very knowledgeable and has helped numerous practitioners to understand the importance of outdoor learning and its impact on children’s learning and development.” – Laura Henry, Managing Director, Childcare Consultancy

“I was priviledged to have Jan in my team during her period with Learning through Landscapes. She was an innovative, inspirational early years outdoor play pedagogue, who was able to move the thinking and activity of our charity beyond our expectations.
Jan was involved in some of the most important work of the charity, including pulling together the Shared Vision and Values for Outdoor Play in the Early Years. This declaration was signed by over 100 key early years organisations, individuals and bodies, and was subsequently adopted in the EYFS guidance.
Jan left an important legacy with Learning through Landscapes and set us up for further successful partnerships aimed at improving the quality of outdoor play in the early years. I do not hesitate to recommend her work and will be seeking opportunities to work with her again in the future.” – Julie Mountain, Director of Operations, Learning through Landscapes

“Dear Jan, I can’t believe it’s only been a week since coming home from the OnDesign conference. I cannot fully express how pivotal meeting you has been for me. I have learned so much from you! Thank you for sharing your knowledge, expertise, and philosophy regarding children, play, development, risk management, connecting with nature, and so much more!
I have since downloaded the mud kitchen PDF and the managing risk PDF and have recruited two other staff members to help me advocate creating one at my site. I am optimistic that we can get it done. I look forward to reading more of your work and learning more from you.
Thank you again for inspiring me. I consider meeting you to be a great blessing. Wishing you well in your future presentations and success in all of your endeavours.” – Jennifer Boberg, Teacher, Des Plaines Child Development Center, One Hope United, USA

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