Outdoors Thinking

Hill of the O Neil

Certificate in Outdoor Practice Level 3 (NI01)

A course of 12 training days over a 12 month period based in Dungannon

Course Dates

This course takes place on the following dates:

  • Mon, Mar 14th 2022 Start Date
  • Mon, Apr 25th 2022
  • Mon, May 16th 2022
  • Mon, Jun 20th 2022
  • Mon, Sep 19th 2022
  • Mon, Oct 17th 2022
  • Mon, Nov 14th 2022
  • Mon, Dec 12th 2022
  • Mon, Jan 16th 2023
  • Mon, Feb 20th 2023
  • Mon, Mar 20th 2023
  • Mon, Apr 24th 2023 End Date


This course takes place here:

Hill of The O'Neill
26 Market Square
BT70 1AB

Hill of the O Neil

Book a place

Fully booked

More details about this course:

The Certificate In Outdoor Practice


Course FAQs

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Who is the course for?

The course has been specifically designed to extend the understanding and expertise of practitioners and teachers/TAs who have at least 2 years experience in early years practice. The course is also very suitable for those holding a nationally recognised level 3 qualification but with less experience in practice.
So as to complete the implementation aspect of the qualification, you will need to be working or on placement with children from 2 to 6 years in any private, voluntary or maintained early years setting, school or childminding service.

How long is the course?

In general the course spans 12-14 months.

An example of a standard delivery of the full award would be one training day per month then to return to your setting to implement gained knowledge and experience. In this way you would complete a unit every month, a module every 4 months and complete the whole certificate over a 12 month period.

For Privately commisioned courses - This can be done over a shorter timescale but it is very important to allow enough time between each unit before moving on.

How will it work?

Employing a coaching approach, the course supports you to gradually develop a firm basis of understanding and competences in a long-term, incremental and stepped way. The structure allows you to gradually develop your own expertise across the year, providing a slow, regular and manageable approach.

Utilising a blended mix of face-to-face experiential sessions, in-person or online discussion and analysis sessions and guided study, you will be supported to work things out for yourself. Constructive observation, implementation and evaluation in your own setting’s outdoor space ensures that new understandings become embedded into your practice and are maintained. We aim for this training to work for everyone and to involve actual development of your setting’s outdoor provision and practice.

How will it help me?

Undertaking the Certificate in Outdoor Practice will:

  • Build up your understanding and commitment to the outdoors as a powerful environment for learning in the early years.
  • Foster the practical skills needed for creating a continuously available outdoor environment that really harnesses the special nature of being outdoors to meet how young children are most able to feel good, learn and develop.
  • Support you to feel truly comfortable, confident and competent in working in your setting’s outdoor environment.
  • Empower you to enact effective early years pedagogies in your work setting.
  • Help you create wonderfully rich outdoor provision that works successfully to provide your children with exciting learning experiences that best meet the way they are designed to learn.
  • Enable you to provide an outdoor environment that works well throughout the whole year, so that children and staff alike love being outdoors for lots of time, every single day.
What makes it unique?

The qualification is content focused, incorporates active learning and supports collaboration and gradual progress. The course is:

  • Focused on the early years of childhood (2-6) and child development and wellbeing.
  • Focused on onsite outdoor provision and on continuous provision that makes best use of the special nature and features of the outdoor environment for learning.
  • Develops the setting itself as an integral part of the course, resulting in continuously improving provision that operates well throughout the year.
  • Supports participants in working with their statutory curriculum framework in the outdoor context.
  • Has an enabling and empowering process, working on comfort, confidence, competence, and the ability to articulate to others.
  • Centered on research-informed effective early years pedagogies that integrate theory with practice.
  • Carefully designed with the express intention of embedding training into practice, drawing explicitly on what is known from research about what makes CPD effective.
  • Focuses on personal development of the participant through a coaching and action research style of training, including development of the staff team they work with.
  • Provides the participant with a professional qualification as an outdoor specialist.
  • Prepares the participant for a progressive range of training and qualification opportunities, broadening the outdoor context (such as Local Nature Play or Forest School) and/or increasing the academic level.
What are the outcomes?

Making a difference for practitioners and children.

The Certificate in Outdoor Practice from Outdoors Thinking has an enabling approach with the following ongoing impact and outcomes for practitioners, managers and settings:

  • becoming comfortable and confident about working outdoors;
  • becoming competent in being able to see the potential and in working with what the outdoors has to offer;
  • knowing how to make the most of its special nature;
  • knowing how to best support learning through play outside;
  • becoming proactive in enhancing provision, practice and management of the outdoor environment for wellbeing, play, learning and development;
  • belonging to peer support networks to sustain developments after the training and continue the journey;
  • having essential and solid first steps in continuing on to Forest School or Outdoor Nursery training and qualifications.
How is the course accredited?

Our course in England is accredited by Open College Network West Midlands.

Frequently Asked Questions

Check out our FAQ page

Venue FAQs

How to get to Hill Of The O'Neill if I'm driving?

Just a few minutes from the M1 motorway (Junction 15), 45 miles from Belfast, 50 miles from Derry and 30 miles from Newry.

Where should I park?

If you’re travelling here by car, you’ll find ample parking available across a number of town centre car parks.

How do get to Hill of The O'Neill by public transport?

Dungannon Bus Station is just a few minutes’ walk away through the town centre, with on-services to all major towns and cities.

7 minute walk to bus station.

Trainer FAQs

3 Words that best describe Clare




Why does Clare love the outdoors?

I love the fresh air and I love what all the different seasons bring in terms of weather conditions; new life, growth, and opportunities. I have realised that we just need to dress according to the weather and get out there and enjoy whatever is on offer.

What is Clare's favourite moment in the outdoors?

I do love the sea most of all. It's my favourite place to be; walking in the wind, listening to the roaring sound of the waves and the call of the seagulls. I always feel so fresh and invigorated after a walk by the Atlantic.

What is Clare most excited about in her role as Outdoors Thinking Tutor?

I am looking forward to having proper dedicated time to uncover the great potential for learning offered by nature and outdoors. Outdoors Thinking has the potential to transform our thinking about learning for both children and adults. This programme is a privilege for both tutors and participants.

Why does Janet love the outdoors?

My interest throughout my career has been in nature and the outdoors, sparked initially by a visit to British Columbia, Canada as a student, where I studied outdoor education for my dissertation.

3 words that best describe Janet




What is Janet's favourite moment in the outdoors?

I have always felt happiest outdoors. Some of my favourite memories are playing in the woods with friends or in streams on holiday in Scotland. I think my favourite moment outdoors would be taking my children to the beach for the first time.

Why does Janet think that Outdoors Thinking is unique?

I believe Outdoors Thinking is unique in the way the courses have been designed, focusing strongly on child development and the unique nature of the outdoors; and in the way the programme is structured over the course of a year, focusing on continual professional development and the implementation of learning into practice.

What is Janet most excited about in her role as Outdoors Thinking Trainer?

As a trainer with Outdoors Thinking I am most excited to be working with practitioners, in supporting them to develop their outdoor areas, into places they will love spending time with their children.