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Outdoor Planning Issue


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Hi, we are the lucky owners of a new outdoor play area. The problem is planning, the staff really need to focus on quality experiences for the children and plan for these alongside free play.

Do you think that planning on a seperate sheet, so that they :o really focus on this area would be a good idea?

We are a centre where outdoors has not been a priority before so I really want staff to think carefully about the provision and experiences which they offer children.

All advice would be really welcomed.

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Can't help you Sunshine, but one of my performance management targets is to develop the outside classroom, so any help with this would be great....

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Hiya I tried this before as people tended to plan for indoors while prehaps forgetting outdoor is more than physical stuff, It was supposed to help them cover all areas out of doors, as some get missed.

Maybe you could just make sure they mark something planned outdoors every day, so theres not the extra burden of another planning sheet? And remind them that if you dont see any examples, there will be a whole new planning system to make sure the right l.earning experiences are happening... that should motivate them!!

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We have a grid on one piece of A4 paper showing all the areas in the setting ie sand, water, fine motor skills etc. We have added boxes below to plan for outside. It's tricky because, our priority would be to get outside as much as possible and many activities are transferrable anyway. A lot depends on the weather and how long we stay outside, usually as long as possible.

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Personally I see the issue here is that outdoor play is not more of the same indoor play - of course far more physical stuff can be done than inside and that can easily be assessed against the outdoor equipment you have. Think about all the things you cannot do inside and can only do outside. Can you grow things, can you find bugs, can you count the leaves falling form the trees, can you see shadows from the sun, can you make mud pies, can you run and hide in tunnels, can you make dens from natural materials, can you play with heaps of water and drain pipes, can you ...... I think if you think about the outdoor play area as something additional to the children's learning you might get to think about how you are going to plan for it. Think about all the things you cannot do inside and it might help you to think about how you plan for it. Designing individual gardens is quite simple with a small amount of equipment and resource - containers perhaps. What about walking through paint with wellies - it will all wash away -what about throwing a tennis ball with paint on it at a wall - perhaps with paper on it!, painting with water, chalking pictures - making a hidey hole for birds or ladybirds, planting a buddleia to attract the butterflies or stinging nettles for the ladbirds. Just needs to be thought of differently and therefore does really need a separate planning area to ensure that you are using the outside area to its full potential. Make water gauges etc etc

I think the thing is with so many children being inside for the main part of their waking day that the only time they get to go out with nature is at the weekends and then often its to the local park where there are more metal swings and slides which hardly create imaginative play and inform their KUW. For me personally outdoor play is and should be different not more of the same.

 

Nikki

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  • 3 weeks later...

We used to plan it as an extension of the classroom... and each week/day ensure things were planned in to be done outside. Like has bee mentioned already, the outside lends itself to a larger work area and many other learning opportunities not available indoors.

 

So yeah, we always used to plan in outdoor specific activities (like using the woods), and then there are the more incidental things like handwriting practice on the playground, measuring, pattern work, shapes in the environment, writing on the windows with dry wipe pens for the children inside, photography, large construction leading into role play (great guiding reading opportunity for children who aren't ready to be reading yet!) etc etc etc... could go on and on,

 

... so I guess to surmise, we used outdoors as much as possible, sometimes it was planned group work, sometimes it was a free flow, sometimes (usually once or twice a week) it was an exploration of the woods... either way, there was usually something planned out there everyday.

 

Ok, I've rambled enough now... hope I've made sense!

 

~ Porl

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