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This workshop explores pedagogical possibilities in the playground. Janet Robertson has been the outdoor teacher at Mia Mia Child and Family Centre for 14 years, and these stories are derived from the curriculum, materials and environment created by the team, families and children of Mia Mia. Central to this is a theoretical understanding of place and its role in curriculum.

Exploring the possibility and potential of a teacher dedicated to lead the outdoor programme was initiated at Mia Mia in 1999. In the ensuing 15 years the role of the outdoor teacher has evolved, as has the curriculum and pedagogy. Both the teaching role and the space are now rich arenas for thinking and learning.

The status of playgrounds within early childhood education in Australia during those 15 years has fortunately also enjoyed a renaissance. Once a nationally neglected space, it is now rightfully front and centre for innovative thinking about early childhood pedagogy across the country, as evidenced in the Early Years Learning Framework.

This one day workshop will explore the philosophy of outdoor teaching, which drives the outdoor curriculum: that of the thinking child as present in the outdoors as well as the indoors. Placing this thinking child as the forefront of the curriculum is a choice for advocacy and pedagogy.

During this workshop Janet will give participants an opportunity to consider the role of an outdoor teacher, the environment, materials and children’s thinking. Be prepared to think outside (the box and the inside classroom) and transform the outdoors from the often neglected space to the marvel that is the outdoor classroom.