Men in Early Childhood Education: My Interview With Ben Webb From the Ashfield Outdoor Nursery in Wales by Mike Prochaska

Men in Early Childhood Education: My Interview With Ben Webb From the Ashfield Outdoor Nursery in Wales

Ben Webb is a trained Forest School leader, play worker and advocate for child-led outdoor play opportunities. His two amazing children were the inspiration for his outdoor nursery project, Ashfield Outdoor Nursery, in Powys, Wales. 

Ben says there’s “a growing movement toward outdoor provision and a recognition of its benefits on physical and emotional health. Outdoor nursery settings are becoming quite commonplace in England and Scotland, but there still isn't one in Wales. We look set to be the first, which is very exciting.” Read on to learn more about Ben…

Q. Why did you decide to open an outdoor nursery?

"I have two boys, 1 and 3 years, and the local [nursery] settings are all predominantly indoors and I just wouldn't be happy sending them to any of the current ones. I have a background in play work and play development, so I just decided to go for it."

Q. How does an outdoor nursery work?

"We will use the natural world as inspiration, and for our resources in art this might be leaf art, painting in the mud, sculptures out of clay, etc. There are innumerable and far more creative things that can be done with natural – often free resources. 'A Little Bit of Dirt: 55+ Science and Art Activities to Reconnect Children with Nature’ is a great book to get anyone started."

Q. Any inspiration to share with others?

"If it rains, great, who doesn't love dancing in the rain, jumping in puddles, catching the rain in pots. It's all about good clothing and plenty of spares."

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