Professional development     


  A bunch of brains

Brains getting together for a chat

Glenn Wagland has worked in early childhood education environments since 2001. Starting off in family daycare, Vacation care, long daycare and then kindergartens. Outdoor learning was always the focus. The Family daycare was a bush block with resident brown snakes, the long daycare had trapdoor spiders, mud slides and yabbies’ and the kindergartens had the worlds biggest mud pit (called the feral hill).  Along the way a Bachelor of Education came in handy to help identify the learning witnessed (he always knew a child learnt something when they stepped on a nail and now, he knew what and how thanks to Piaget and Bandura). The four years of University was spent linking all newfound knowledge, with his outdoor, loose parts, risky play philosophy. In 2013 he started the Mobile Junk and Nature Playground, due to a perceived deficit in loose parts rich learning environments. Originally the thinking behind it was to give the children an exciting day of exploration and fun. Soon it became apparent that by introducing complex loose parts environments to an education site, the teachers could observe firsthand what one looks like and see the benefits it offered their children.

Since 2013 Glenn has travelled to hundreds of sites all over South Australia, and over the years witnessed a shift in perception (and pedagogy). The most exciting change has been school’s uptake of loose parts environments. Early childhood has identified the benefits of unstructured outdoor learning environments and valued the open-ended resources for a while now (to varying degrees), yet schools were slow to engage. An updated outdoor learning environments standard in 2016 has helped, however it is still an alien concept to many sites.
      Glenn’s travels have seen him observe the plethora of sites who are on their pathway to creating rich outdoor learning environments full of nature and loose parts. Glenn has become a conduit for communication between these sites and the ones who are beginning their journey. Every session has become more than a chance for children to play. Information sharing, which was originally an offshoot, has now come to the fore. Basically, every Mobile Junk and Nature Playground session has ended up as a hands-on Professional Development session.

Understanding a need to share the progress of the loose parts play movement in South Australia, Glenn has begun stand-alone Professional Development sessions. The main focus has been on natural and sustainably sourced loose parts outdoor environments. Throughout the years he has spoken on the logistics and barriers faced when creating these environments, the benefits for vulnerable and disadvantaged children, how it supports literacy and numeracy, and the risky play aspects. Often sites would have a specific interest they would like addressed, for instance, regulations, and department policies, others would like to see connections between loose parts play and the major theorist on children’s development. Each PD session is tailored to suit the needs of the people booking it. Whether it is a quiet reflective chat with a single site or a large conference gathering of a 100 plus audience, Glenn, through his passionate belief in the benefits of these environments, is able to share his experiences and understandings and spread the loose parts play philosophy like an unstoppable virus.

Prices for PD sessions vary depending on length , content, and location. Contact us for more details.




Home | The play experience | Philosophy| For the educator | Contact | Site map