Natural Thinkers

Supporting early years practitioners to provide high quality outdoor learning for children.

Natural Thinkers offers both face-to-face training and, if required, virtual support.

If you want to join the programme, please contact our Communication and Language Leads: 

What is the focus of the training?

Using outdoor learning to develop children’s: 

  • well-being
  • involvement
  • and communication and language.

What is Natural Thinkers?

Natural Thinkers is training that gives practitioners a framework for connecting children to nature through practical activities that are inspiring and motivating. 

Central to Natural Thinkers are ten commitments that give a structure for practitioners to develop outdoor learning.

The aims are to increase the confidence of practitioners in using the natural environment to improve children’s communication and language development and support their well-being and involvement.

What is Natural Thinkers?

Who is the training for?

The training is for all practitioners who work with young children in the LEAP wards.

What is the offer to practitioners?

Practitioners will need to attend one whole day and two two-hour sessions of training.  

The whole day session will include:

  • Morning: Exploring the aims of the service, research about the benefits of outdoor learning and the 10 commitments.
  • Afternoon: A practical session giving ideas around autumn and winter to implement with children 0-3 years old.

This will then be followed up with the two (predominantly practical) two-hour sessions:

  • First session focusing on spring seasonal activities.
  • Second session focusing on summer seasonal activities.

There will also be:

  • In-between support visits for settings.
  • Monitoring and evaluation tools which practitioners will need to use and will be guided through on the training to demonstrate the impact on children's learning.

Once the training has been completed settings will receive an accreditation visit to become a Natural Thinkers setting. Funding will be available for each setting to purchase resources to embed the service, which they will receive on completion of an action plan.

Accredited Natural Thinkers in the LEAP area

  • Italian Day Nursery (November 2021)
  • Brixton and Tulse Hill Better Start Area (October 2021)
  • St John’s Angell Town Primary School Nursery (July 2021)
  • Hitherfield Primary School Nursery (June 2021)
  • Bunnies on the Green (December 2019)
  • The Nursery at Stockwell Primary School (October 2019)
  • Holmewood Nursery School (November 2019)
  • St Stephen's Early Years Foundation Stage (June 2019)
  • Henry Fawcett Children's Centre (May 2019)
  • The Nest Preschool (May 2019)
  • Stockwell Children's Centre (May 2019)
  • Rosebuds Preschool (April 2019)

How do I take part?

Settings in the LEAP area will be invited to join the service on a yearly basis. Please contact LEAP Communication and Language Co-Lead Jo Gordon at or on 07545 862479.

How do I take part?

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