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Course notes

Shelagh Hornby, of Woolwich Common nursery school, Greenwich, praises a course that celebrates play

Course Come Rain, Come Shine: Outdoor Play in the Foundation Stage, by Sally Atkinson, Gill Roberts and Jacki Yetzes

Provider National Union of Teachers (

Venue Hamilton House, London (NUT headquarters), July 2003

Cost pound;30, paid by my school. Open to NUT members, who could bring one guest.

How did you find about the course?

Advertised in Teacher, the NUT magazine.

Why go?

Our school was switching from a site with a large, grassy play area, to one with a small concrete yard.

What did it promise?

"A practically orientated workshop, focusing on the importance and learning potential of outdoor play."

Did it deliver?

It was fascinating. The course leaders had visited Sweden, where children spend a lot of time learning outdoors.

Highs and lows

Usually I come away thinking "that was OK". This time I was excited. But some of the time was spent discussing in groups. That's only as good as the people sat around your table.

Message, motto or mantra

The outdoor curriculum is as broad as the indoor curriculum.

Best advice

Opportunities to play and learn outdoors are enormous, but only if everyone is properly equipped. If it's raining, just put on your wellies and coats and get outside.

Has it made a difference?

We went back confident that we could sell the idea of outdoor play to our colleagues. The head is giving us the chance to do that at the next staff meeting. Our new play area will incorporate some "natural" features.

Coming your way?

Come Rain, Come Shine will probably be repeated in the coming year, but no details have been fixed. See the NUT website for other courses this term.

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