You said, we listened…all set to welcome back the inspirational Greg Bottrill in March!

Author: Pam Carpenter
Category: news

After such tremendous feedback from our Early Years Leaders in May 2021 when Greg Bottrill led the webinar ‘Can I Go and Play Now-The Art of Co-Play’, we are thrilled welcome him back in person for  ‘The joy of Drawing Club and the adventure of co-play’.

Our Early Years Inspiration Days provide Early Years practitioners with the opportunity to engage with the best local and national early years authors, trainers and speakers. On this first Inspiration Day on Thursday 2nd March, Greg Bottrill will share his concept of Drawing Club, aimed at amplifying language, mark making, mathematics, connection and imagination. Drawing Club has huge scope as part of daily practice as it was created to show five year olds the magic world of story and how to adventure there. Greg will also introduce a treasure trove of ideas to add extra joy to the days spent with children including Story Dough and Babblejab! As with all professional learning events at Gateway Alliance, Greg will include links to a wealth of resources to support our Early Years practitioners back in school.

Greg is the author of the bestselling ’Can I Go And Play Now?’, ‘School of the Magic of Children’ and ‘Love Letters To Play’. A passionate advocate of childhood and education done with children not to them, he is also the creator of Drawing Club, The Message Centre, Play Projects and Adventure Island. His work and thinking is deeply embedded in joy, adventure, marvel and play, four things that he believes are equally as important for adults. 

The feedback from our EY leaders in May 2021 says it all:

‘Greg was absolutely inspiring. A great presenter with such passion that was utterly contagious!’

‘Inspirational early years practice from someone who knows what good early years practice is’

‘Engaging delivery, Greg put us all at ease and feel comfortable in participating. Really interesting content and lots of great ideas that make sense and are easy to implement’


Greg is delighted to be joining us face-to-face after half term, and shared three top tips for those working in the magical Early Years:

  1. Give yourself a play permit: It’s ok for adults to play too; play is not just for children
  2. Be open-hearted: Always be on the lookout for opportunities that present themselves through what unfolds in front of you
  3. Do everything for childhood


In the Summer Term (Thursday 15th June), Sarah Watkins will lead our second Early Years Inspiration Day: Doing well and feeling good…now and in the future. Feedback from our Early Years network highlighted a need to explore outdoor learning and provided an opportunity to delve into how we can introduce the concept of sustainability. 

Sarah recognises that high levels of wellbeing ensure better physical, mental and academic outcomes for children. So how can we develop outdoor play in early years so that children’s opportunities for critical thinking, focus, progress and engagement are maximised? During the first part of this session, Sarah will explore research informed strategies for wellbeing through outdoor play, including assessment of wellbeing levels, developing productive uncertainty, and tactical use of loose parts.  


As Greg says ‘Children are magic. They live in a world that overspills with exploration, connections, dreams and imagination. They are trying to share this world with us all the time, because they want us to step through the door that leads there and join them’. To explore how our Early Years programmes support these magical years, do take a look at our Early Years Inspiration Days and our new Early Years Network with our network lead Ruth Swailes.