Thursday Workshop (QLD, NSW)
Michael Hardie
Mental Health and Wellbeing Coach, Queensland Department of Education

Know Your Place - Embedding Outdoor Learning in Diverse Educational Settings

Nurturing nature, balancing screen time and green time, being in the moment and engaging in unstructured play outdoors. Compelling evidence suggests that such approaches enhance social, emotional and cognitive development whilst reducing childhood stress and problem behaviours.
“But isn’t unstructured outdoor play really dangerous?” “How on earth can you fit it into our crowded curriculum?”  “What about health and safety?”  “What if you have limited ‘green’ space?”
Informed by a passionate group of school leaders, this workshop will answer these questions and give grounded, low cost examples of how we can embed a ‘growth’ mindset and re-engage children with outdoor free play. Uncovering the natural learning potential our school environments hold, engaging with sustainability and biodiversity in a truly meaningful way and a benefit – risk approach to giving children control of their learning will be explored.

About Michael
As a Mental Health and Wellbeing Coach working in the Brisbane area, (Queensland Department of Education), Michael has the privilege of working with a range of schools in developing strong strategies to enhance whole school wellbeing. Bringing substantial health promoting schools experience from Scotland and Spain, Michael has spent the last 18 years growing his practice with schools using positive psychology, neuroscience, trauma aware schooling and the Positive Schools network.
As an immigrant in a beautiful country with a population so rich and diverse in its cultural origins, Michael has become increasingly convinced that exploring authentic connection to place and the rest of nature is critical to growing wellbeing in schools. Sharing these ideas is an emerging group of extraordinary school leaders. The ‘Playmakers’ represent a growing network of Queensland schools passionate about tackling ‘nature deficit disorder’, showing the benefits of ‘place responsive pedagogy’ and sharing their good practice with other schools.