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Eyfs And Outdoor Play


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Morning everyone!

I know the EYFS says the curriculum should be delivered through purposeful play both indoors and outdoors but does it give any indication about how much time the children should be outside for? I suspect that there is a lot of variation in the time that e.g. children in Reception classes in different schools, get for outdoor play. I know some classes will be restricted because they won't have access directly to an outdoor space but in other cases it will be limited by other factors e.g. money available for resources or not enough staff to cover. I just wondered if somebody could point me in the right direction for finding out exactly what the EYFS says about this - I had a trawl through it on-line last night but couldn't find anything very specific. I'd be very grateful for your help!

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Statutoryguidance p35. if you don't have an outside area then you should provide a daily opportunity to go outside, so e.g. childminders without an outside space would have to walk to the park for example. However it is guidance that bit , not a "must".

p37: you must deliver balnced etc etc indoors and outdoors. No amount specified.

 

For reception the expectation is the same as any other EYFS setting! Helen Bilton advocates equal access to in and out, seeing it as 2 parts of the whole thing. Staffing can be difficult however in Reception if you are just 1 person so you have to use your professional judgement. However, unneccessary all being in when you could have in and out is something I am always challenging in the settings I support - is it because the adults are reluctant to go outside, cos it's never the children!! Looking at the type of activities you plan for adult focus outside is important - big, large scale things so adults can duck out if they need to "supervise" a bit are more appropriate than sitting down hearing reading for example.

Cx

Edited by catma
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I think if you are in a position to then ASK THE CHILDREN what they think?

Ideal scenario is to let the children choose how long and when - unfortunately it will never happen where I work - heaven forbid...it's cold out there!! :unsure: ;):o:ph34r:xD :rolleyes: :( :wacko: xD:( :(

 

Did my icons say it all??

Edited by Guest
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I work on my own but the doors are always open and if I am doing an adult forcus activity with a small group then I am popping in and out and looking out the window. The children are really good and know they to well behaved or else they will have to come in. At first I was worried that there were maybe 3 or 4 children out there unsupervised but you get used of that. My classroom is made up of 2 small rooms so at times I can't see every single child but it works fine.

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at our setting, the doors are permanently open so the children free-flow as and when they feel like it.We only have two staff, so one or other of us is outside at any time, whatever the weather.....we are only back inside if there is a storm going on! we make sure we wear long socks under our trousers and have big thick gloves, so we're nice and warm.The children very rarely say they are cold, and if/when they do, we go back in for a warm up with hot chocolate!!

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I love the idea of children having totally free access to the outdoors and boy do some of my class need it! But I am on my own most of time and do not have direct access to the outdoor area although I do have sight of it, that is its across the path. My concern is what would liability be if a child had an injury while no one actually outside supervising them. Advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Sorry Caspar - I can't answer your question but I think what Ger has to say is very interesting. It seems that when children are trusted to take on the responsibility they can really rise to the challenge. Children will fall over, have accidents etc if we are out there or not - so long as you have done your usual checks to make sure the equipment and area are safe and you can actually see the playground from the inside then maybe you could work like Ger does. It would need approval by your Head (possibly Governors too) and maybe sharing it with the parents, so they could see your reasons for it, would be helpful. We do live in such a litigous (?spelling) society though....

Thank you to everyone for your help with my question - I think the EYFS missed a good opportunity to give outdoor play more support.

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We always operated freeflow (not always with an adult outdoors as it was a secure area visible to staff indoors) but have been informed that we can no longer do this since EYFS became statutory. As a result our children's access to outdoor activities has been significantly reduced.

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I would love to be able to give free access to an outside space but we don't have one at all, i'm really envious of all these settings that have an outside space

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We always operated freeflow (not always with an adult outdoors as it was a secure area visible to staff indoors) but have been informed that we can no longer do this since EYFS became statutory. As a result our children's access to outdoor activities has been significantly reduced.

I'm sorry to sound like the proverbial cracked record Marion, but did they say why the EYFS says you can't do this anymore?

 

We in pre-school have never been allowed to let our children outside unaccompanied, but it must really cramp your style (and the children's) if they are suddenly no longer allowed to access the outside areas by themselves.

 

Maz

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I'm sorry to sound like the proverbial cracked record Marion, but did they say why the EYFS says you can't do this anymore?

 

We in pre-school have never been allowed to let our children outside unaccompanied, but it must really cramp your style (and the children's) if they are suddenly no longer allowed to access the outside areas by themselves.

 

Maz

 

We are being told H&S and this is coupled with the building of a new children's centre attached to us and built in part of what was our outdoor area which has left us with an unsecured setting we are basically operating on outdoor "playtimes" in the school playground. I feel really negative about the whole thing as we had a totally Child Centred unit and all that we worked really hard to provide has been lost.

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I echo HappyMaz' question Marion, you have such a wnderful outdoor area, what a real shame if it cannot be used like before September EYFS launch. Is it a must (I'm guessing supervision) or is it a should interpretation that is stopping this play. I know it's different at home (but ask why should it be too different) but I am sure most parents let children play in the garden without them being outside with them supervising their every move.

 

Peggy

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I feel really negative about the whole thing as we had a totally Child Centred unit and all that we worked really hard to provide has been lost.

Oh dear, Marion that doesn't sound good from your perspective. It doesn't sound as if the needs of your children have been considered at all when the plans were drawn up for the children's centre. No wonder you're fed up. :o

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I don't know why it should be different but the head even emailed DCSF and no one is willing to say that we are ok to continue the way we were.

Probably down to the H&S thing I'd say, and the fact that no-one wants to go on record as taking responsibility for giving the go ahead and be held responsible for any future accidents or incidents.

 

Ofsted would probably say that it is down to the setting to do the necessary risk assessments, and be prepared to justify the judgements they have made with regard to keeping children safe. Is your head not prepared to do this after consultation with staff, review of the risk assessment etc?

 

How frustrating!

 

Maz

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Oh dear Marion, our posts crossed, now I've seen your replies to HappyMaz I see it's not actually an EYFS issue, more a headteacher one. :o

 

How frustrating for you.

 

Peggy

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No my head is quite happy for us to work the way we did (he is very firmly Early Years/Child Centred) but he has been told we can no longer continue and has sought advice at all levels to support our way of working but has met with brick walls at every turn.

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Sounds really frustrating - is it because of the security, you said you are left with an unsecure outside which would contravene EYFS as having a secure space is in there?

Cx

 

Sorry catma I didn't explain properly

We have had a new purpose built Children's Centre built onto our FSU linked to what was our main door by a glass walkway/porch. Now our main doorway had security locks then a gate that was padlocked when children went outside. Now we have doors from the CC that anyone can open from the outside and wander in but worse still the children can open and wander out. We can't lock them because they are fire doors so we are left with an unsecured building and an unsecured outdoor area.

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What a pain - you must be really p'd off with that, I know I would be. Doesn't the security for your EYFS children make it an issue though - I would have thought so, they have as much rights as the CC children????

Cx

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To be honest the whole thing has been an utter farce. At one point they decided only to put windows in the walkway (cheaper than doors) which would have meant we had no access to the unit or outdoor area unless we went into the CC and used their door then climbed over a fence. Then we had no fencing which meant that we were open to the adjoining field. Then the fence they erected had gaps between each railing big enough for small children to squeeze through.

The CC has only 1 child for most of the week and in the meantime our 56 children are losing out.

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I have no solution for you Marion but feel really sad as I know how much you wish to do well for your children, and I think we all value your expertise. Not being able to put into practice what you believe is very demoralising. This explains to me why you have been rather quiet lately. If security is an issue then someone somewhere needs to address this. Nothing should stand in the way of the children having their entitlement, so it looks like bad planning by someone. At least you have an HT who understands the issues. (((Marion)))

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Sorry catma I didn't explain properly

We have had a new purpose built Children's Centre built onto our FSU linked to what was our main door by a glass walkway/porch. Now our main doorway had security locks then a gate that was padlocked when children went outside. Now we have doors from the CC that anyone can open from the outside and wander in but worse still the children can open and wander out. We can't lock them because they are fire doors so we are left with an unsecured building and an unsecured outdoor area.

Not exactly a prime example of joined up thinking then, Marion. And the powers that be wonder why new initiatives like Children's Centres are so often viewed negatively within the Community they serve! I can't imagine Mrs Ofsted being any happier with your new set up than you are, but in the meantime it must be so frustrating for you and your team to have to work in these circumstances.

 

I'm sure you and your head have looked at this from every angle and obviously I can't offer any practical help. I just wanted you to know that I feel so angry on your behalf, I could spit! :o

 

Maz

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At one point they decided only to put windows in the walkway (cheaper than doors) which would have meant we had no access to the unit or outdoor area unless we went into the CC and used their door then climbed over a fence.

 

Sorry Marion, but I actually laughed at that - not because it's funny, but because it is so ridiculous! Tearing your hair out would probably be an understatement!

 

 

Regarding the children out on their own thing, our outdoor area is secure, and if we are not all out, I have always let 4 out without an adult. We can keep an eye on them and they have always been really good at coming to let us know if so-and-so is hurt (usually, thankfully, they haven't been remotely hurt but it's obviously the thought that counts! And the care for each other has continued on the occasions where a plaster, etc, has been needed!)

 

Since Sept, I have been giving them all more choice of in or out, but usually all but one (sometimes even 3!) have wanted to be outside. My plan was to have one adult in and one out if there was a split, but obviously if a big majority want to be out, it makes sense to have both adults out and the few 'insides' in on their own, but somehow I don't feel as comfortable about this as having a few out on their own - which is silly really! When it's just been one wanting to be in, I'm afraid I've said we all need to be out. Anyway, enough rambling...! :o

 

x

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