Why is outdoor play so important?
During your child’s time in nursery you may notice that we take the children outside as often as possible. This is an important part of their nursery experience for the following reasons:
- Many children prefer playing outside and as a result they show greater levels of involvement and motivation when learning new skills and concepts across the whole curriculum can be more readily embedded
- Young children learn by being physically active and the outside environment allows greater space and freedom to do this
- Changing society prevents regular opportunities for children to play outdoors
- There is a substantial increase in child obesity and asthma nationally
Outside play is planned for and can provide exciting opportunities to develop most areas of learning. We see the outdoors as a classroom in itself and will take the children out in all types of weather.
What can you do to help?
We will endeavour to take the children outdoors as often as possible and in all types of weather. It would be of great assistance if you could make sure that your child comes to nursery dressed suitably for weather conditions each day. We also ask that they wear sensible footwear and clothing that can withstand the rigours of outdoor activities such as climbing, scrambling, gardening etc.
Our garden is a special place and a very important feature of our nursery. It is a place of great fun, excitement and learning for the children as they develop their physical, social and imaginative skills and enjoy every room in the garden.
We have an area of garden which has been seeded with wild flowers and where children can investigate a natural environment. There is a bug hotel, specific shrubs e.g. lavender, buddleia to attract insects and butterflies, wild flowers/grasses, logs, a mud kitchen, digging area, bird tables etc.
This ‘natural’ garden contrasts with the more cultivated garden, with flowerbeds and vegetable plot in our ‘taste garden’ which the children help plant and care for.
The different areas of the garden
Our sensory garden is enjoyed by children and adults alike, it has a variety of plants to smell and touch. There are lots of interesting and exotic smells from the chocolate plants and curry plants as well as the lavender, jasmine and sweet peas. The magic of the fairy garden is enchanting and listening to the bamboo and long grasses swaying as the children play hide and seek in the jungle/sound garden is great fun.
The children grow their own fruit and vegetables in the taste garden which they pick and cook and have for their lunch or snacks. Collecting the eggs from the nursery hens is a daily treat. The children also plant a variety of bulbs and seedlings throughout the garden and enjoy a range of beautiful colours in the spring and summer.
The baby garden
Our babies are very much a part of the nursery and we have a special garden for our babies where they can play and crawl and watch the older children, in a safe and secure environment.
What does ‘The Early Years Foundation Stage’ say about outdoor play?
“Children must have opportunities to play indoors and outdoors. All early years providers must have access to an outdoor play area which can benefit the children.”
“Providing well-planned experiences based upon children’s spontaneous play, both indoors and outdoors, is an important way in which practitioners support young children to learn with enjoyment and challenge.”