Bright Ideas

Updates from Claire Warden

Kenny Hutton, Mindstretchers

"Nature Pedagogy is an understanding of our sense of belonging to land, our sense of working with nature. There is a pedagogical shift when you move outside into nature... it's learning with nature, not just teaching about it.” - Claire Warden
Claire was lucky enough to spend a week of the summer at the Children Learning with Nature conference at the University of California in Santa Cruz. She hosted the conference with a keynote address whilst also delivering workshops on water systems, fire making, den building, learning stories, and much more! It was a fantastic week that left everyone exhausted but bursting with new ideas to take back to their workplaces in the USA and Canada. The conference will take place again next year with dates now being finalised for July 2016.
Claire is now in Australia working with independent schools providers and local Universities where she will also develop the second part of her Nature Pedagogy course in September. This 6 day course will explore the way that we work with children inside, outside, and beyond; taking students on an inspirational journey that will show how the natural elements can be used to deliver exciting authentic play and learning experiences for children from birth to 6 years.
Claire will share methods of documenting children's voices and their theories of the world, so that nature-based learning is embedded in core teaching and learning. The elements of nature are used as the framework for experiences that work at an adult level so that they in turn can work with children effectively.
September is a busy month for Claire as it will also see the release of her latest book Learning with Nature: Embedding Outdoor Practice. The book supports her recent work and research and is focused upon children aged 2 through 11. It includes a self-evaluation toolkit and recommended planning techniques, all against a backdrop of practice from around the world.
The most important aspect of learning with nature is the adult views on what nature offers children, and whether the practitioners and parents are motivated by nature themselves. In some environments, the adults have no residual memory of making mud pies, petal perfume, or a den. If a team does not have an "inner glow," what will they draw on when the rain comes down or the challenge of delivery of curriculum seems to be more important than being outside? Claire, who has worked with children for over 25 years, reminds practitioners to slow down, to watch children fill themselves with all the possibilities of learning with nature, and to allow children the time for a childhood full of excitement and joy inside, outside, and beyond.
If you are interested in finding out more, check out Claire's website.


Claire Warden, nature pedagogy, Nature Preschools