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Alice Sharp

Alice Sharp Experiential Play


Alice has worked in the early years sector since graduating with her BEd Hons. Her practice began in Brighton when she found herself running a nursery and becoming involved in opening a number of new branches around Hove and Shoreham. On moving back to Glasgow she became involved in working with children with additional needs and then moved on to lecture in Early Years at a college in Glasgow.


Alice was then invited to begin writing with Nursery World and Nursery Education magazines which she continues to do, while delivering training on their behalf. In the past 5 years she has launched Wonder Box, an educational resource company whose resources are based on ideas she has tried and tested and are now sold across the globe.


Alice is privileged to travel, sharing practice ideas with early years centres, universities and local government. She currently works with the Welsh and Northern Irish education authorities and departments addressing the imminent changes towards experiential learning throughout nursery and primary schools. The company designs and sells ideas and resources based on the articles she has written. She is the author of three books and is invited to various parts of the globe to share her ideas and practice.


Alice was awarded Lecturer of the Year in 2007 by The Early Years Educator Magazine. On behalf of Experiential Play Alice now delivers training to 18 local authorities in Scotland and has been invited to become an associate tutor for the BA Childhood Practice with The University of Glasgow.


Gail Ryder Richardson


Gail Ryder Richardson Outdoor Matters


Gail Ryder Richardson has a Masters in Early Childhood Education from the University of Sheffield, and has worked in the Early Years sector for 30 years in a wide range of roles including advice and support, education inspections and quality assurance. From January 2008 until March 2011 Gail worked for The National Strategies to support and challenge local authorities across the South East to improve educational outcomes for children under five years old.


Prior to taking up this position Gail was a senior development officer for Learning through Landscapes, a charity that promotes the value and importance of the outdoor environment for children’s play, learning and development. In this role Gail published a book ‘Creating a Space to Grow’, wrote articles on outdoor play for Nursery World magazine, and contributed to the development of the materials for the Enabling Environment theme within the Early Years Foundation Stage.


In her current role as an independent trainer and consultant Gail continues to promote the message that Outdoor Matters! Her professional knowledge and her practical and creative approach to overcoming problems, is combined with a genuine understanding of the challenges practitioners face making her uniquely placed to support early years providers and organisations wanting to improve their outdoor practice.


Gail is happy to create bespoke packages of support in order to meet specific requirements.


In recent months she has developed training modules to improve the knowledge and understanding of inspectors carrying out Ofsted inspections and been asked to deliver seminars at sector events, such as the Nursery Show. She has worked with day nursery chains and national organisations, such as the National Childminder Association, as well as individual schools and settings in order to improve the quality of education in the outdoor environment for children under five, through projects, training and advisory visits, and her website


What do clients think of Gail’s training and consultancy on Outdoor Matters?


“Gail is unusually capable at both policy and practice – combining a deep commitment to children and the outdoors with a real understanding of how to build and motivate. I hope she will continue to show my teams how it is and how it should be...”

Owner of a day nursery chain


Julie Mountain

Julie Mountain Play Learning Life

Qualified in landscape design, Julie has a passion for getting children and young people outdoors and a strong belief in the value of outdoor learning and play in enriching children’s lives.


Helping settings make the most of outdoor play for young children has been a professional imperative for Julie, and she considers herself privileged to have visited and advised hundreds of schools and settings, across the UK and abroad. Drawing on these examples of innovative practice and exciting outdoor spaces has informed her own thinking and in turn, that of the many practitioners and teachers she has mentored over the past 18 years.


Since becoming a parent herself, Julie has developed a particular interest in encouraging schools and settings to provide challenging, risky outdoor spaces. Believing that a risk averse, health and safety obsessed society does our children no favours, Julie is keen to promote the role of schools and settings in changing this culture. Parents are key, so Julie has been developing programmes and support structures to build confidence and facilitate better communication between practitioners and parents in order to make the case for risky, adventurous outdoor learning and play.


Julie’s career spans regeneration projects in Newcastle; new build schools in County Durham; helping shape government policy; and speaking engagements in Europe and America. In 2011 Julie left her Operations Director role at Learning through Landscapes to realise a dream and run her own outdoor learning and play community interest company, Play Learning Life.


Play Learning Life aims to help schools, settings and families ensure that every child has the opportunity to be outdoors to experience nature, take risks, develop key competencies, embed learning and of course enjoy the freedom and joy of being outdoors.


Penny Tassoni

Penny Tassoni Nursery World

Penny Tassoni is an education consultant, author and trainer and the first ever President of PACEY (Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years). She previously worked as an early years and primary teacher before lecturing on childhood studies. Penny is an assistant examiner for CACHE and is widely known for her training and consultancy work with many early years partnerships and LEAs. Penny has also worked as the UK education and training manager of a large nursery chain. She has written more than 30 books, including the best-selling Practical EYFS Handbook.