This quote from nursery educator Margaret MacMillan sums up how we feel about our children being outdoors. She maintained that children need outdoor space as much as food or air, and we can't help but agree. As well as fostering a love of nature and simply being outside, outdoor play encourages healthy physical activity. team play and social inclusion. We are very lucky to have a wonderful outdoor space in the Early Years environment at Saint Nathaniels.
For some reason, children love learning outside more than anywhere else..... it is just more fun. 'Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.'
Outdoors, children learn so many things they don't even realise they are learning for example problem solving and improving their social skills. Learning outside encourages the children to show their own individual characteristics of effective learning.
We ensure that our outdoor areas are rich in activities that cover the development areas of the EYFS. It is just as important as the indoor classroom.
We love getting messy in our outdoor area. One of the children's favourite place is the mud kitchen where they develop so many wonderful skills such as gross and fine motor skills, capacity and using their imagination.
The children have planted vegetables and flowers. They are responsibile for taking care of our garden area and plants we are growing,
We have recently has a new addition to the outdoor environment - Cotton tail. Having to take care of a pet builds a sense of responsibility in children. Children develop empathy by caring for a pet, including an increased awareness of the needs and feeling of others.
It is important to note that unless the weather conditions are just too severe or unsafe for our little adventurers, we go out regardless. If it's cold and rainy or snowy, we wrap up warm and get on with it, whatever the weather. The children love it! As they say, there is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes.