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I work in a local authority nursery. We have 15 - 20 children per session AM and PM we have a large room and a lovely garden with an area for bikes and a climbing frame. We also have our large brick play outside and in warm weather we take lots of activities outside. Our staffing is one teacher one NNEB. At present we spend 45 minutes each session outside longer in the summer but have been advised we should have in and out play throughout the session. This means only one staff member inside to cover FTA / computers/ all the table activities / construction/ role play/ sand / water/ book corner, answer the phone and the front door. Do you think this is realistic? What do you all do? Is any one else out there with 2 staff who manage in and out play? Please let me know what you do? :oxD:(

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I think that in an ideal world of course you would let the children move freely between the inside and outside environment. Unfortunately with 2 members of staff this is not practical for you. I think at some point we all have to be firm and turn round and say 'we have thought about this and can't do it for x, y and z reasons.' If we show we have given it some thought and a practical solution can't be found then this has to be good enough .................. unless they think better! :)

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Hi Mimi -

There was some conversation on this a while back. You can find the link here.

 

It would be good to come up with a definitive answer to this, but I also think, as Beau mentioned, that specific settings are limited by their environment and staffing issues. Generally as long as you're striving to increase outdoor provision within the limits of your setting that is all you can be expected to do.

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Hi Mimi,

this is a topic that I too am still struggling to get to grips with.

Ideally, I would like my 30 children to free flow from indoors to out. There are 3 of us in the mornings and 2 in the afternoon and it is always a struggle to balance the cover and activities. I'm also fighting with the misconception that outside is "playtime" and my support staff find it difficult to engage with the children outside in any more than a supervisory position. Not good. Of course, when you are outside the children do tend to have more accidents! And that is another juggling issue.

However, I certainly don't think it is fair for you to be answering the phone or the front door and you need to shout about that one!!

 

Good luck.

Susan

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Hi Mimi, this is a difficult one isnt it?

When we have open access to outside (there are 3 of us), we only use part of the nursery, not all of it. Is that a possibility for you? We fnd that in the summer months, the vast majority of the children want to be outside, with literally just a handful staying in., so 2 go out and 1 person stays in, but in a smaller area. We dont answer the phone if we are busy, and once the children are in, visitors have to come through the main school so we dont need to keep going to the door.

 

But I agree with Steve and Beau, you have to do what you can do, as long as you have thought it through, and can give reasons for what you do, there shouldnt be any problems. :o

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We had a discussion with our teacher advisor about outdoor access. we don't have a safe, enclosed area which we can allow children access to all morning. We have a grassed area at the front of the church which is safe providing we all go out together. Our advsor wanted us to take out groups of children during the morning but this would compromise our ratios inside as I wouldn't want one adult out there with more than 2 children and taking 2 a at a time wasn't really feasible. I would only feel happy with a group going out if there were 2 adults with them, then we wouldn't have enough staff indoors to meet the ratio requirements! So, I argued the case that what we were doing was the best considering our circumstances-and she had to agree.

As others have said in an ideal world there should be free flow but some of us have barriers which mean this can't happen. I envy you all with your outdoor areas, I just wish we had one!!!

Linda

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Are there any "official" ratios for outside? I mean does it vary from the normal ratios.

 

We only have 14 per session but have 3 members of staff, that's because the under 3's have to have 1:4 and the rest its 1:8.

 

24 outside (with none under 3yrs) and 3 members of staff I would have thought was the norm? yet I always feel we need more staff outside - not sure why!!!

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Hi, we have four staff in the morning and three in the afternoon. We have a shelter, (That is basically outdoors, with a roof on), and a reasonable sized outdoor area.

 

WE share both with Reception. WE tend to open the shelter and outdoors at around 10.15 in the morning,a dn two in teh afternoon, and one adult goes out with the children. Reception do the same, so there are two adults out all the time.

 

 

WE allow freeflow from outdoors and inside, but we ask teh children to put their shoes on when going outide. teh children are very sensible witht eh freeflow, although I think with less adults, it would become tricky as we also encourage our children to tidy up, and they can only move to a different area once they have done this.

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