The outdoor area provides young children with one of the best possible environments in which to learn. Any adult who has watched children playing in a well-planned and well-resourced outdoor area with involved adults will have observed the joy and excitement they experience as they learn new skills and make fresh discoveries.
“The best kept classroom and the richest cupboard are roofed only by the sky” Margaret McMillan (c1925) Nursery Schools and the Pre-school Child NSA Publication
Our principles for Outdoor learning
· Our Indoors and outdoors is viewed as one combined and integrated environment.
· Our indoor and outdoor provision is available to the children simultaneously.
· Our outdoor provision is both a teaching and learning environment.
· The outdoor classroom offers children the opportunity to utilise effective models of learning- play, movement and sensory experience
These principles underpin the Early Years Outdoor Curriculum.
We believe that a well-planned and well-resourced outdoor learning experiences allow for progression in a child’s thinking and understanding. These can provide the context in which these principles become the reality for all of our children.
Why develop learning outdoors?
· It allows and encourages children to relive their experiences through their most natural channel – movement.
· Movement is one of the four vehicles through which children can learn. The others are play, talk and sensory experiences.
· It provides access to space to nurture mind body growth.
· Physical development is the pre-requisite for the children’s growth. It:
-enhances the development of motor skills (gross and fine);
-develops co-ordination, balance and body awareness;
-keeps the body, heart and other organs healthy; and
– develops a life-long good habit of daily exercise.
· It provides the opportunity for assessed risky freedom, where children can play and socialise freely and use their own imagination and initiative.
· All the areas of learning can be achieved outside while the children’s long-term social, emotional and mental health are being enhanced.
· Exercise can affect emotions allowing for relaxation and calmness and a heightened sense of wellbeing (Armstrong 1996).
Young children’s basic need for well-being and involvement, and their urge to explore and make sense of the world, is developed through high quality play in an outdoor environment.