Millie Colwey is an Early Years educator and leader from Bristol, UK. Her main role is running ‘Millie’s Garden’, a small outdoor setting with a strong focus on relationships, wellbeing, and sustainability.
Millie also works as a specialist leader for birth to three years, supporting local nurseries, running training and networks. Millie has a first-class BA in Early Years Education and is studying towards an MA in Education.
In this interview, Millie explains how her outdoor kindergarten came about and some of the practical things she has developed (for example, a composting toilet). She details the different pedagogies and approaches that have influenced her own pedagogy, including Forest school, Reggio Emilia, loving pedagogy, but most importantly how she is responsive to the cultural and social context of the children in her cohort.
Millie also discusses her own childhood, play and the way that her assistants have helped her grow and expand her thinking. As her physical setting has developed, it now has a shelter, an ‘indoor space’ (the Cabin) and a purpose-built outdoor kitchen.
We go on to discuss sustainability and the ways that Millie’s Garden is sustainable in three ways – environmental, economic and socio-cultural sustainability. Millie also discusses her Ofsted report, where the inspector said “this is outstanding with bells on, I’ve been absolutely filled with joy by what I’ve witnessed here today”.
Millie finishes with some great strategies for taking your children outdoors, including beyond the garden gate, and how to develop and grow your own pedagogy.
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