Kathryn Solly

Kathryn Solly

Early Education Associate

Kathryn is now a specialist Early Years trainer and consultant working around Britain and internationally. Previously she was the Headteacher of the historic and diverse Chelsea Open Air Nursery School and Children’s Centre for nearly 17 years. However, Kathryn started her pedagogic life as a secondary school teacher on Voluntary Service Overseas in Papua New Guinea for two years. Since then she has taught across all the phases of education in a variety of places including a short time in an Albanian kindergarten. She retrained to teach in the early years and has since achieved a special needs qualification and an M.A. in Early Education and Care.She has travelled widely and studied education and care in Italy, Germany, Iceland, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Australia. Kathryn was awarded the Unilever Fellowship researching aspects of Early Years Leadership and Management in 2006. She has contributed articles to several journals and books on a variety of aspects of young children’s play, teaching and learning. Her first book ‘Adventure, Risk and Challenge in the Early Years’ was published in December 2014. She is an experienced and passionate public speaker, trainer and consultant at home and abroad.

Areas of expertise​

  • Outdoor play and learning

  • Risk and Challenge in the Early Years

  • Leading learning outside

Sample courses

Planning adventurous play throughout the year – delivered by Kathryn Solly

Aims and objectives – delegates will have the opportunity to explore:

• What is adventurous play?
• Other important concepts-risk, challenge, hazard
• Adventure and the Characteristics of Effective Learning
• Extending thinking through adventurous learning
• Using risk benefit assessment
• Enhancing play and learning for the creative, competent child
• Strategies to support parents and colleagues

Elemental Play And Learning Through Risk, Challenge And Adventure Outdoors – delivered by Kathryn Solly

This two day course is spread over consecutive days or can be separated with a gap task for Early Years leaders/managers in small groups who are keen to enhance and develop their pedagogical practice outdoors.


  • To consider different ways of seeing children – powerful, active and adventurous.
  • To reflect upon how we can ensure our outdoor spaces provide for these confident risk-takers and adventurers by using the elements and nature.
  • To enhance practitioner confidence and practice in challenging children by providing adventurous play with different resources including loose parts.

Day One


  • Presentation of principles, practice and theory of risk, challenge and adventure via outdoor play and learning.


  • Exploration of resources and books etc.
  • Discussions in groups about outdoor provocations
  • Planning next steps

The gap task will reflect on your current practice following the training day, with a view to bringing further ideas and feeding back at the next session.

Day Two


  • Feedback by groups as to progress with next steps
  • Presentation about outdoor leadership and physicality


  • Sharing DVD material
  • Exploration of loose parts

Leading and learning outdoors – delivered by Kathryn Solly

Aims and objectives – delegates will have a brief introduction to leaders and leadership, before exploring:

• Good manager or great leader?
• The importance of TEAM
• Aspects and dimensions of quality
• Key skills and qualities to lead outside
• Key responsibilities- Developmentally Appropriate Play, COEL, PSED, Physical Development, Communication and Language and quality Interaction, Creative and Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Independence and Extending Learning, Promoting Inclusion.
• Leading Change with your team

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