Featured Image

Services: Training

Training in how to make the best use of the outdoors in your particular site can be an enriching experience – for you as a practitioner as well as the children in your care.

However barren or lacking in interest a setting may seem, insight can still be gained by looking at somewhere with new eyes. Children are fascinated with their environment, and will always make full use of what is available. It is our role as practitioners and teachers to tap into this interest and facilitate learning, imaginary play and problem solving with an appropriate level of input. Demonstrating how this kind of interaction with the outdoor environment links so naturally with the curriculum enables staff to see this kind of learning as an important and valued element of the whole of the learning experience rather than as an optional extra.

So many children have lost touch with spending time outdoors in today's society – particularly in a non-directed, unstructured way. This is when and where so much enjoyable learning can take place, naturally and creatively in an open-ended environment with carefully chosen 'loose part' (ones which have many possible uses) resources.

"Thank you for an awe inspiring evening on Wednesday. Your ideas are so practical and I am sure that every single one of will go away and actually DO SOMETHING as a direct response!! I can't say that about every training session I go on! I was delighted that we had child minders, Play groups, nurseries, EYFS, support staff, Class teachers, Year 1 teachers all represented and everybody was inspired. I hope I can find an excuse to invite you back - I'll have to move school again!"
- Kate Holland, Northampton Early Years Cluster

"Even better than feedback is the activity that is taking place in the outdoor areas. Staff have had a new lease of life and have recreated all of the activities that you put out on the night for the Wrappers children, plus babies are about to get a sand kitchen, additional pipes and gutters and various other bits that they have been inspired to either continue with/rejuvenate or add from previous ideas sessions.
All in all well worth your time and our investment!"
- Marie Burke, Crigglestone Day Care, Wakefield

"Earlier this term Jane Wratten came to Rowan School to deliver a session on outdoor education. This was found to be enormously helpful by the forty or so who attended the day. Colleagues commented that they especially noticed and appreciated Jane's sensitive and inclusive approach, her input allowed for the wide range of differing needs that any group of children will encompass. The delivery was interesting, well prepared with good visuals and most importantly interactive throughout. Jane answered questions from the group helpfully and with the benefit of drawing on her years of experience. Particularly helpful was her ability to explain how much could be provided for outdoor education on a very limited budget. The benefits have been apparent in the additional amount of and the improved quality of outdoor learning at Rowan. Among staff there is a greater shared awareness of the benefits of learning outside the class room with increasing requests, comments or suggestions being brought to staff briefing sessions. The best and most important consequence of Jane's training is that Rowan children now have regular and varied opportunities for outdoor learning led by more confident practitioners."
- Jane Lownsbrough, Assistant Head, The Rowan School, Sheffield

Training sessions

What to expect

At Yard Explorers we like to make training fun!

All sessions are planned individually, typically offering:

  • A significant practical element outside with our eclectic array of 'loose part' resources to experiment with
  • High quality and inspiring visual presentations
  • Facilitation of discussions around practicalities
  • Q&A sessions
  • Practical and useful original handouts
  • Open-ended cross-curricular or subject/topic-related themes as required


Sessions can be run as workshops (1 hour), twilights (2 hours), half-day (3 hours) or whole day (5 hours). Packages of training over a term or year are recommended to really embed the experience and philosophy of outdoors into your setting.


Please contact Jane for a price guide – all sessions are negotiable and operate on a sliding scale according to size of setting or organisation and number of sessions booked.

Who is the training for?

On-site training and Workshop trainning is suitable for

  • All teaching and support staff from Nursery, Foundation and/or transition to KS1
  • Members of the management team
  • Lunchtime supervisors, governors and parents (welcome as appropriate)
  • Childminders
  • Playworkers

N.B. Practical sessions with children are also available for staff as 'training in practice' sessions. These sessions really show how play occurs and can bring new life and opportunities into teaching and learning.

Where can it take place?

Training can be delivered either as an on-site training package in your setting, in a suitable venue for a larger group or as a conference workshop.

Why have on-site training?

Outdoor training that takes place in your own setting makes complete sense:

  • Your site is unique and will offer opportunities for development that would not be obvious in a more generic training session
  • Staff will be able to relate the training directly to their particular interests or daily patterns of use
  • Being on-site means your whole staff group can attend – a very cost-effective option (to keep costs down even further, other staff from your cluster or nearby settings can be invited, charged via yourselves but still using your site as a case study)

Training clients - Individual settings or Clusters:

Athersley South Primary School, Barnsley; Chellaston Infant School, Derby; Crigglestone Day Care, Wakefield; Danegrove Primary School, Barnet; Pilsley Primary Cluster, Derbyshire; Firs Hill Community Primary School, Sheffield; First Start Sure Start Children's Centre, Sheffield; Lydgate Primary School, Sheffield; Pear Tree Infant School, Derby; Sheffield Childminders; Children's Centre, Sheffield; Slinn Street Starters Community Pre-School; St Andrew's Primary, Hertfordshire; Tall Oaks Training Centre, Acorn Nurseries, Milton Keynes;

Training clients - Local Authority and Early Years Organisations

Bradford Early Years; Chesterfield Gifted and Talented Cluster; Derbyshire Early Years; Donegal County Childcare Committee; Edsential; Hull City Council Early Years; Kirklees Early Years; Learning through Landscapes; Northampton EY; North Lincolnshire Early Years; North West EYP Development Day; Nottingham EYFS Hub; RHS Growing Schools; Rutland EY; Sandwell Early Years; Sheffield PLA; St. Helen's Early Years; Tameside Early Years; Yorkshire Play;

Click here for more info on sessions available