Claire Warden. B.ED Hons, Dip Drama
CEO Mindstretchers Ltd
Claire Warden is an educational consultant who has developed her approach to experiential learning through a variety of experiences. Her experiences have taken her on a pathway that includes working in a variety of types of centre, advisory work, and ultimately to lecturing in further education.
As a lecturer in Primary Education at Strathclyde University, the development of training strategies and course creation have been applied to the dynamic and creative work currently undertaken by the company she started called Mindstretchers. It has now grown to develop many aspects including Claire's Charity called' Living Classrooms' which works to connect children, families and community in the outdoor environment.
Mindstretchers was set up as a training consultancy in 1996, becoming in 1998 Mindstretchers Ltd. Mindstretchers is now a one stop location for educational professionals, whose multiple needs are covered, as specialised resources are sought out and developed, inspirational training occurs in a range of countries and Mindstretchers publishes its own range of books and training materials.
Claire Warden is an author of many books and materials relating to early years methodology. These include 'The Potential of a Puddle' that details National vision and values for outdoor play; 'Talking and Thinking Floorbooks' which presents the planning methodology that supports consultation and democracy in early education; 'The Right to be Me' which explores the rights of young children to high quality provision and 'Nurture through Nature' which explores working with children under three outside. 'Nature Kindergartens' explores children's connection to nature and naturalistic spaces such as Forest Schools, Forest Kindergartens, Woodland camps, Nature Kindergartens.
The pathway has taken her to set up Whistlebrae Nature Kindergarten and Auchlone Nature Kindergarten in Perth and Kinross, Scotland UK . These outdoor nurseries, work with children from 2-6 yrs old as well as offering after school care and holiday care for children up to 12 years. Children spend up to 90% time outside. The three spaces of inside, garden and the wild wood are designed to develop skills and confidence in the natural world. The whole environment is eco-friendly, down to fair trade resources, organic food and alternative energy sources.
Claire is one of a leadership group of consultants who make up the World Nature Collaborative. The purpose of the group is to develop a cohesive network and approach to experiential learning in outdoor spaces in a variety of climates. The nature collaborative brings together educators, landscape architects, environmentalists and health workers to support a multidisciplinary approach to outdoor educational provision. Claire is the European education co-ordinator and as such would invite you to join the collaborative and take forward children’s right to outdoor play around the world.
The company continues to work closely with Local Authorities to support all aspects of education from 0-11 years. Claire has written courses to meet the needs in home based environments such as childminders and shared day care spaces such as playgroups .
Mindstretchers is also on the consultative committee on the place of Risk in Learning to the Scottish Government.
Articles will soon be available from www.claire-warden.com