Julie Mountain on Winning Enabling Environments

In this session, Julie discusses the six settings she visited, which have previously won Nursery World ‘Enabling Environments’ category. She discusses some of the common themes and some of the unique aspects of each setting.

Julie praises the relationships between adults and children in these settings, noting how this fosters trust and connection – and allows for risk-taking and joyful play.
· September 22, 2023

Qualified in landscape design, Julie Mountain has specialised in supporting schools and Early Years settings so that they can make the most of the potential of outdoors for learning and play.

An experienced trainer and facilitator, Julie launched Play Learning Life in 2010 in order to focus on outdoor projects in and with schools, settings and families. She has created a number of online Masterclasses for Early Years TV, including Outdoors on a Shoestring and 5 Dangerous Things (you should let children do).

Julie is currently writing a series for Nursery World magazine, where she has visited six past Award winners in the Enabling Environments category, which is the focus of this Early Years TV session.

In this session, Julie discusses the six settings she visited and some of the common themes, which included freedom, choice, sheltered spaces for privacy and individual time, while still allowing for outdoor play. She explains how the adult role was crucial in creating a safe and nurturing environment and even though each setting was unique in their setup and resources, they could still follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum successfully.

Unsurprisingly, Julie discussed storage, loose parts, how the use of second-hand materials and a less controlled environment outdoors can foster a sense of ownership and agency in children.

Julie also praises the relationships between adults and children in these settings, noting that the trust and connection allows for risk-taking and joyful play.



The nurseries Julie visited are:

And you can find the Nursery World conference on the 7th of November here:

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