Why is outdoor learning important?
Outdoor learning is important for young children because it:
- Supports the development of health and active lifestyles;
- Offers children opportunities for physical activity, freedom and movement;
- Promotes a sense of confidence and well-being;
- Provides opportunities for developing harmonious relationships with others, through negotiation, taking turns and co-operation;
- Supports those children who learn best through activity or movement
- Provides safe and supervised opportunities for children to experience new challenges, assess risk and develop the skills to manage difficult situations;
- Supports children’s developing creativity and problem-solving skills;
- Provides rich opportunities for imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness;
- Gives children contact with the natural world and offers them unique experiences, such as direct contact with the weather and seasons
At Aclet Close Nursery School outdoor learning is effectively supported as adults and children have good access to outdoors, and opportunities to move freely between the outdoor and outdoor environments. Secure entrances, exits and boundaries are vital safety features and offer peace of mind to let children roam and explore. Children have protection from extreme weather conditions through the provision of shade and shelter. Our outdoor area offers a range of areas and surfaces providing exciting new perspectives which often acct as a catalyst for children’s play ideas.
The attitude and behaviours of adults outdoors has a profound effect on what happens there and on children’s learning. Children attending Aclet Close Nursery School have the support of attentive and engaged staff who are enthusiastic about the outdoors and understand the importance of outdoor learning. The outdoor environment is a fully effective place for high quality learning experiences as staff are involved in the organisation, use and maintenance of the spaces, based on the children’s needs and interests. Staff recognise the importance of risk assessing to enable rather than restrict children’s experiences.
The organisation and design of the outdoors includes safe places where children can observe vents without having to get involved unless they choose to, as well as active places where children can be boisterous and noisy. The availability of appropriate clothing and protection enables children to go outside all year round, whatever the weather! We have a small amount of full waterproof outfits and wellies; parents and carers are welcome to provide children with their own.
At Aclet Close Nursery School, children’s outdoor learning is resourced with play materials and open0eneded flexible resources that can be adapted and used in many different ways, according to the needs and interest of the children. We provide opportunities for children in meaningful, engaging experiences that support their development in all areas of the curriculum.
These include opportunities to:
- Be excited, energetic, adventurous, noisy, messy;
- Talk, listen, interact, make friends;
- Imagine, dream, invent, fantasise;
- Create, invent, construct, deconstruct;
- Investigate, explore, discover, experiment with their own ideas and theories;
- Make sounds and music, express ideas and feelings;
- Find patterns, make marks, explore different media and materials;
- Investigate concepts and ideas;
- Be active, run, climb, jump, throw;
- Dig grow, nurture, cultivate;
- Hide, relax, find calm, reflect;
- Have responsibility, be independent, collaborate with others
How outdoor play relates to areas of Learning and Development
Personal, Social and Emotional Development: The outdoors is a place that children of all ages get pleasure from being in and can act on their strong impulse to investigate. The children are curious, inventive and interested. They can concentrate and persevere at activities they have chosen. This in turn supports the development of positive attitudes towards new opportunities, challenges and responsibilities.
Communication and Language: Outdoors, the children can hear and respond to a different range of sounds, beginning to recognise and distinguish between noises in the outdoor environment. The outdoors is a place where stories, songs and poems are shared.
Physical Development: Outdoors children are physically active on a scale that is less possible indoors. This offers the children exciting opportunities for purposeful movement over large areas, exploration of different levels, negotiation along pathways and around objects, and changes in direction and speed. Outdoors is a place where the children experience the effect of physical activity on their bodies.
Mathematics: The children enjoy number rhymes and out act number games outdoors. Natural materials that are found outdoors, such as twigs, conkers, chestnuts, and pebbles can be sorted and graded according to size or shape. Perceptions and theories about shape, space and measure are tried and tested as they move between bushes, fill buckets with stones or create patterns with fir cones.
Understanding the World: The children explore and investigate a wide range of materials that cannot be found indoors. They have first-hand experience of nature through touching plants, smelling flowers and watching the movements of insects, spiders or beetles. The impact of the wind, weather and seasons can be experienced directly.
Expressive Arts and Design: The outdoors is full of creative opportunities and is rich with sensory experiences. The children can respond in a variety of ways to what they see, hear, feel, touch and smell. Through language and music, dance and movement, art and role-play props they express and communicate their ideas and feelings.