Professionals in the Field

Gillian McAuliffe

Gillian is the founding director of Bold Park Community School, in Perth Western Australia, which has been established by parents to provide children from three to eighteen years with the opportunity to engage with a social constructionist learning environment. Presently the Pedagogista of the school her role is to provide an educational environment with a firm foundation in Nature Based and Place Based education. She has also introduced the Perth community to the benefits of ‘Zentangling’ as a way to focus and calm the brain while developing fine motor skills and creative confidence.

Gill has been an inspiration for Educated by Nature and Trudi and Daniel’s personal educational journeys. As our mentor at Bold Park Community School, Gill has helped us discover the richness in joyful learning that occurs when adults trust and respect a child’s capability, invite them to have ownership in their learning journey, provide opportunities for playful exploration with quality resources and of course spend ample time in nature.

Maggie Dent

Maggie Dent is an author, educator, and parenting and resilience specialist with a particular interest in the early years and adolescence. Maggie is a passionate advocate for the healthy, commonsense raising of children in order to strengthen families and communities. She has a broad perspective and range of experience that shapes her work, a slightly irreverent sense of humour and a depth of knowledge based on modern research and ancient wisdom that she shares passionately in a commonsense way.

Maggie inspires us to support children and families to take challenges, to bring back risk and opportunity for authentic play to the lives of Australian children. She also challenges us to take risk ourselves and that to be a mentor to young people you have to be willing to challenge yourself as well. Trudi and Daniel have had the privileged of  attending many public and private workshops and seminars with Maggie and really respect her honest, down to earth approach to mentoring others.We share Maggie’s passion for reducing anxiety and increasing confidence in the young people of Australia.

A deep and meaningful connection to nature as a child has so many benefits – and is a key underlying philosophy in all my work. It is also one of the reasons I am the patron of Bold Park Community School in Perth. If you are interested as a teacher or a parent how to deepen children’s connection to nature – please check out the new Educated By Nature website or Facebook page Educated by Nature! They run programs and activities to give children an opportunity to connect and flourish in the outside world. Well done Daniel and Trudi – brilliant work!

Maggie Dent 2015

Claire Warden

Claire is an award winning lecturer who now has an international reputation for pioneering work in education. Her key areas of work have focused on motivational maths, consulting children, and children’s connection to the natural world. The skill she has to connect to people wherever she works and her methodology is being implemented by policy makers in many countries around the world. This in turn inspires governments, lecturers, practitioners, and communities to create high quality education for their children.

Daniel and Trudi have had many opportunities to work closely with Claire in their experience working in outdoor classrooms in primary education settings. Through attending many workshops, lectures and conferences with Claire they have been inspired by her work on ‘Benefit Risk Assessment’, seeing the positive potential outcomes in activities and then finding ways to reduce the hazards in these situations while retaining the beneficial risks; strategies to overcome learned helplessness and develop self reliance, especially in very young children; as well as her talent for enthusiastic outdoor adventure stories.

Tim Gill

Tim Gill is one of the UK’s leading thinkers on childhood, and an effective advocate for positive change in children’s everyday lives. For over 15 years his writing, research, consultancy projects and other work has focused on the changing nature of childhood, children’s play and free time, and their evolving relationships with the people and places around them.

Tim’s book No Fear: Growing up in a risk averse society is a wonderful demonstration of the issues surrounding risk in our society, the ‘aversion’ to risk that exists in our world today and how despite the litigious nature of society, we need to work as communities to provide children and families with ways to reconnect with nature, with the outside world, with our local community spaces and provide children with opportunities to develop and grow resilience through risk taking – rekindling the type of childhoods of our parents and grandparents. Having attended international conferences with Tim, Daniel has had the opportunity to explore some of the adventure playgrounds and community gardens of Germany and Denmark. Coupled with Tim’s reoccurring messages about shrinking ‘roam zones’

Toni & Robin Christie

Toni is the Director of Childspace Early Childhood Institute, and holds a Masters degree in Education. She oversees the professional development programmes, personnel, and edits The Space magazine. Robin, with both an Early Childhood Education and Fine Arts background, is responsible for all the design and maintenance of the Childspace environments. As a team, Robin Christie and Toni have presented seminars and workshops to both national and international audiences on the topics of environment design, management, leadership, early childhood education curriculum and programming, infants and toddlers and storytelling and science.

Every moment spent in the company of Toni and Robin is an exhilarating experience. Their energy, passion, knowledge and experience is mind blowing and so inspirational – you cannot come away from sitting in a workshop or conference presentation of theirs without a smile on your face and a fire in your belly. In their time as classroom teachers, Trudi and Daniel have been very privileged to have had the opportunity to work closely with both Toni and Robin developing wild spaces, attending conference presentations and a Ukulele training retreat. They are amazing individuals, but together they make a stellar team!


Anna Killigrew and Peter Harrison

Anna and Peter are both Anglican Priests of 22 and 42 years, who live and work at Koora Retreat Centre in Koorarawalyee, Western Australia, providing a base camp from which to experience the wilderness and explore desert spirituality, alone and in community. Anna has completed training in spiritual direction with the Perth Diocese, and has experience in group dynamics and community building through her years in parish life and her previous life as a secondary teacher and industrial and university chaplain. Peter has a long history of providing infrastructure for Wilderness Retreats for groups. He facilitated retreats at nearby Weowanie Rock for 20 years. He was born at Wiluna, in the centre of WA, so has a lifetime of wilderness experience to draw upon.

Trudi considers Koora as her soul’s wellspring and cherishes every visit to strip-back, reconnect, refocus and gain energy and direction in her life. Much of Trudi’s personal and professional journey has been inspired, supported and energised by Anna’s spiritual direction which has provided her with the motivation, passion and courage to connect others with nature for personal and community growth.

I love reading your reflections: it is then that I know that what we see in this place is shared. Thank you Trudi. I hope you inspire others to join you in being educated by nature. In the un-down, in-contrived places that remain as reminders of genuine life, new creation constantly being born.

Anna Killigrew (2015)