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CK Professional Development

“Teaching children about the natural world should be treated as one of the most important events in their lives.” ~Thomas Berry

Early Childhood Education

Kotahi te kākano, he nui ngā hua o te rākau/

A tree comes from one seed but bears many fruits.

Get outside! - A guide to Nature and Forest Programmes in Aotearoa

Early Childhood Educators have a wonderful opportunity to bring the benefits of nature play to their children. This comprehensive professional training programme offered in collaboration with Play and Learn - Nature Kindergartens covers everything you need to embark on a nature play journey. You may attend as an individual, book in a group from your centre, or we can offer the course as a private, individualised professional development for your centre (price negotiable).


Get Outside: Introduction

Discover the research underpinning nature play in the ECE environment, and extend this into a local Aotearoa context, with emphasis on links to Te Whāriki, Te Ao Māori, as well as foundation skills for school readiness. We will cover research and best practice around risk management, as well as the nitty-gritty of Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and EOTC Guidelines.  This course is a prerequisite for our other Get Outside courses. 

  • Introduction to taking children into the outdoors

  • Purpose and philosophy, rationale and benefits

  • Ministry regulations and implications 

  • Managing risks and safety in the outdoors

  • Day to day planning – the curriculum in nature

Get Outside: Skills

Get ready to be outside all day, acquire new skills and go deep in assessing the benefits of risk in the outdoors. Extend your learning from the Introduction workshop with an in-depth look at skills that can be nurtured in the outdoor classroom. Learn how to use tools with children and how you can incorporate risk-benefit assessment into your daily routines. 


  • Practical nature-based session 

  • Day to day planning – what a day ‘could’ look like

  • Practical skills – knots, shelter building, tools, fire making, art with natural materials

  • Managing risks and benefits

  • $250 per person, per workshop plus GST

  • POA for individualized programmes

  • Ask about discounts for hosting or multiple bookings

Our PD for Early Childhood Educators is developed by Jan Beatson.


Jan has thirty plus years of experience of working in early education, including Playcentre, crèche, family daycare, kindergarten and early childhood centres. She owns and operates early childhood centres (Play and Learn) in Auckland and Dunedin. She is currently studying towards her Master of Education at AUT University. Play and Learn are a group of mixed-age Early Childhood Centres, initially based in South Auckland, that has been offering “Out and About” programmes for the past 18 years. All children, including infants and toddlers, participate regularly in “out of centre” experiences. Over the past six years, the focus has been specifically on nature-based programmes, (including Nature Kindergarten), where children regularly spend significant time in nature and the outdoors.

"My own childhood included roaming in outdoor spaces, observing, learning and playing in nature. I have a passion, and a strong belief in the power nature has on children’s mental, physical and intellectual development. I am committed to ensuring that all children in Aōteoroa/New Zealand have the start in life that will best provide them with the skills necessary for life in the 21st century."

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments:

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