“The best classroom and the richest cupboard is roofed only by the sky.”

Margaret McMillan (c 1925)

Rationale

At Pebbles Pre-School, we recognise that the outdoors gives young children freedom that is uniquely different to that they experience inside the setting. We also recognise that outdoor play is vital for the well-being of young children and that its provision through a wide range of safe and stimulating play opportunities is an important aspect of the Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework.

Aim

We will provide a wide variety of activities that encompasses the seven areas of learning. These activities will place emphasis on using the outdoor environment as a valuable resource to stimulate and challenge the children as they learn through play.

Objectives:

  • To ensure that children are supervised at all times. Staff on outside duty must check all areas before allowing the children to go outdoors.
  • To provide varied activities that support inclusion and individual needs.
  • To support children’s participation in decision making and actions affecting their outdoor play.
  • To promote social skills such as sharing, turn taking, decision making, co-operation with others, negotiation and fairness.
  • To encourage children to initiate and develop ideas for themselves.
  • To provide opportunities for children to practice and build ideas, concepts and skills.
  • To provide opportunities for children to practice their fine motor and gross motor skills.
  • To provide opportunities to be boisterous, active, noisy and messy.
  • To allow children sufficient time and space to explore and play in the outdoor environment.

Working in partnership with parents:

  • Inform parents about all aspects of the curriculum including outdoor learning.
  • Meet with them to explain how their children will benefit from outdoor play and learning.
  • Involve them as well as the children in the planning stages.
  • Seek out and use their expertise and skills.
  • Be prepared to respond to their concerns in an understanding way.
  • Include information about outdoor learning in the induction process.
  • Be committed and clearly explain the reasons for wanting children to be playing outside.

Safety and Security:

  • A visual daily risk assessment of the outdoor play area will be conducted before the children go out to play.
  • Staff must always maintain the recommended staff: child ratio at all times. Students or parent helpers cannot supervise children on their own without another member of staff.
  • As in the classroom, a set of rules for outdoors will be devised through discussion with the children and staff.
  • Photographic evidence is only allowed using the setting’s camera. Any evidence will be kept in accordance with the setting’s policies and procedures on taking photographs of children.
  • If any inappropriate materials are found in the outdoor environment, this must be reported immediately to the manager who will then inform the proprietor.

Weather:

  • During the summer when the weather is hot, parents are asked to apply suntan lotion before coming to nursery and to wear sunhats and appropriate clothing. See ‘Sun Safe’ policy.
  • In winter and rain, the children are encouraged to continue with outdoor activities. Parents are requested to provide appropriate clothing, e.g. hats, coats, wellingtons, waterproofs, etc.
  • In the event of extreme weather conditions, children will not be allowed to play outside or if there are possible potential hazards which can compromise the health and safety of the children.
  • Children will have access to the outdoor environment on a free flow basis.