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Hi I know that ofsted are wanting free flow access to outdoor play at the moment but how many settings are doing this.

 

We are a portacabin with two playrooms and an enclosed grassed area. We have four members of staff. One in each room and two floating depending on where the children are. Oh yes between 20 and 27 children each session.

 

In the summer it was great we played in both room for about an hour then shut one room and had the other room and outside open for another hour and half. worked well children chose in or out.

 

Now are problem is clothing. Outdoor is very muddy it takes for ever to get coats on wellies on etc for the children to go out for 10 mins then decide they want to come in. get them undressed then they want to go out again. We did it a couple of times and it was impossible. Also children and staff inside were cold with the door open.

 

We do go out all together on the school playground for about 20 mins each day on bikes or with bats and balls

 

What do others do and is this enough

 

angela

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we do have open door policy now - we open the door once all children are registered - outside we have sand tray, tray with construction ,painting easel and two tables with puzzles or other table top activitites on one half of the area the other half has bikes and scooters.this is available until snack and focussed activity time after thiese we swap bikes and scooters for tunnels,balls,slide etc on the other half the sand and construction stays whilst other activities are introduced ie small world etc - this is accesible until we all come in for story time just prior to going home.

hope thats a help - we have been told that if we do not operate the open door policy we will be marked down by ofsted and in our ecers r which is about to be redone

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hi

 

we are in an uninsulated pre fab building, which has been great this week, as its been warmer and we have been able to have the door open. Today the children all took their coats off it was so warm. But next week it is forecast cold again, we are not due an inspection but if we were inspected I think I would ask to discuss the matter further.

 

I really don't see that it is possible to leave the door open when its -5 outside. Surely, they would highlight that the children inside were cold. Does it not go against every government 'green' statement to have the heating on and leave the door open. You wouldn't do it at home.

 

surely common sense must prevail at some point.

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I agree. We can't afford to heat the outside either by leaving the door open! At our last Ofsted our action was to ensure that we kept the indoor temperature up, and we can't do that with the door open, can we!

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I did my 2nd year research on the same - the value of outside play - unfortunately even though the research highlighted the importance and choice made by the children to use the outside at all times of the day.....the staff have not followed it up...I expect they will for Ofsted purpose's though. :(:(xD:o:(

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We have free flow to our outdoor area. We encourage the children to open and close the door behind them but as the main part of the nursery is a little distance to the outside door we do not have too much of a problem with the heating issue.

The children have access to the outdoors for about 1 and half of a 2.5 hour sesssion. We have found that the majority of children do not want to be out in the cold- the staff love it but try as we might we can't seem to persuade some to go out- their choice. I very much suspect as the weather gets better (do you think it will?) more and more children will want to be out there.

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We have free flow all session (bar beginning/ end) regardless of the weather.

 

We are about to invest in the butchers style curtain...... I think maybe it will keep heat in and in the summer keep it out.

 

I know from experience it gets cold inside but you just put on an extra layer to combat it.

 

I have never had a child inside tell me they were cold.

 

Staff have a moan , Head has a moan but not children.

 

I think where at all possible free flow should be just that........ and not for a short period of time but for the session as a whole.

 

Our first ofsted many moons ago highlighted the fact that we didn't use outdoors appropriately.

We had a time to use the playground and a time when we got the bikes etc out.

 

From that we got a covered and enclosed smallish garden but it is brilliant for the children to have that freedom and independance

 

As for coats and wellies......... children will learn how to do them.

They will probably get quicker if they know that it is a pre requisite for heading outdoors on not so nice days.

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absolutly

we are pack way limited space but we offer free flow

children put on coats and wellies yes in term 1 they need help but by term 2 most can do and only a few cant in term 4

its a learning process for them.

we go out regardless and our door opens into the hall

 

the benefits to outdoor play far outways the problems that you encounter

 

its a mind set thing and those people who say they cant need to do some good problem solving and reflection

because the setting will benefit in the end

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Well. I'd love the luxury of free flow but we are in a community hall with no outside area apart from a field a short walk away. We try to use this field as much as possible but come across all sorts of problems- time getting to and from, staff ratio's, possible undesirable people hanging around. I find it incredible that we take all the precautions under the sun to ensure that the setting is safe and secure- locking doors, intruder policies etc. then ofsted expect us to walk the children in and out whenever they wish. All it takes is one child to run and we encounter all sorts of problems. I wish there was a perfect answer but outdoor play is a very difficult one for us and I'm sure a lot of other settings. We do try to fence off a small area outside for sand/water etc. but I'm sure that's not enough.

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we offer free-flow for most of the session, but because we still have snack together we close the door to the outside during snack (unless its warm and we sometimes have snack outside). Occasionally if its really wet and cold we don't offer free-flow for the whole session only the session after snack. When the weather was -5, like diesel10 said we made a decision not to go outside as the inside area would be too cold for the children and the staff to work in. It does get cold inside sometimes but like Scarlettangel the children don't notice, only some staff members! I do find that we have to plan carefully what goes outside so that children who spend all week outside are covering all areas of the curriculum.

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Moony like you we have no outdoor space- we are in a church hall in a working car park on a very busy main road. Only time we can g ot is if we have enough adults for a 1:2 ratio. Our road is so busy that I wouldn't contemplate walking along it without holding a 3 yr old's hand. I do wonder what will be said at our next inspection re our lack of outdoor use.

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its a mind set thing and those people who say they cant need to do some good problem solving and reflection

because the setting will benefit in the end

 

 

It isn't just a mind set,because I (and I'm sure many others) would love to be able to do it. Our outdoor space simply isn't secure enough to allow for children to be outside without the full supervision of all the members of staff - so that means 'one out, all out' or 'in' as the case may be. I HAVE had children complain about being cold indoors, and yes, even with a coat on. Even attaining a minimum temperature of 16 degrees can sometimes take until mid-afternoon in the winter months, so we're not going to throw all that electricity away. Sorry to rant, but it's just not do-able for everyone, much as we'd love to

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its a mind set thing and those people who say they cant need to do some good problem solving and reflection

because the setting will benefit in the end

 

 

No it's not always a 'mind set thing' and some f us really cant as we have no outside area bar a working car park- how do you problem solve this?

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i Agreee that if you have no outside area then you cant miracle a space to play

but i also know some settings that hace an outside area and dont use it because of staff not wanting too

time to put outside coats etc on

not meeting eyfs

too cold too hot

we are lucky we have a big garden mostly grass and sometimes our children can be out all morning

but they will have learnt so much

You can do indoors outdoors to with alittle thought first

 

did not mean to upset anyone here

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Moony like you we have no outdoor space- we are in a church hall in a working car park on a very busy main road. Only time we can g ot is if we have enough adults for a 1:2 ratio. Our road is so busy that I wouldn't contemplate walking along it without holding a 3 yr old's hand. I do wonder what will be said at our next inspection re our lack of outdoor use.

 

lynned55, it must be really hard for you in your location. I suppose I take it for granted that we can go outside. A big part of the Ofsted inspection is about keeping children safe and I am sure that your next inspector will see just how difficult it is for you to keep children safe in your setting if you go outside. mrsW.

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We had our Ofsted inspection recently on a very wet and windy day, and the first question I got was why was the free flow not in place. After explaining that our portacabin ran on storage heaters it was not economical or helpful to let all the heat out during the morning ( room temperatures) . On dry days it is not a problem.

The next question was, don`t your staff like being outside? Yes my staff will go outside but sometimes if say on a Thursday we only have 6/8 children and 2 staff you have to think about what and where you are going to be.

 

Butchers curtains seem a good idea , think i will invest in some .

 

i personally don`t think there is a right or wrong but it is what works for your setting.

 

Chocoholic1507

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I'm of the opinion that free flow doesn't mean the door has to be permanently open - it's the movement of the children through choice that's free flowing isn't it - and would always see if it could be made "safely openable" by the children if it needed to be closed for heating purposes, finger guards, lower handle...........

 

Adult ratios are important and I can only speak from having always worked in 1:13/1:30 with maybe only one other adult - sometimes we all had to be in or out, sometimes not. I can only do what I can do with the resources I have. I am not omnipresent!!!! I didn't have "floats" as such (luxury item) but the type of activity being supported was dependent on where we were. i.e outdoors, big large group activities like ball games, role playing, treasure hunt etc etc so adults could leave it temporarily and do bumped heads without the whole activity going to pot. In my nursery class the outdoor adult was outside for the whole week! It meant they could develop the play through all the different things they observed. And we all did it. We dressed for the weather and we got stuck in with children. It kept us warm!!!! (We did go on early lunch break to compensate!!!!)

 

The forest school ethos cuts right through that "we're not going out it's too wet/cold/muddy (delete as applicable) because the setting has to ensure that children have the appropriate footwear/covers to go outside comfortably. Now I see children in lots of my settings (including some I never dreamed would do this) having children going independently to the welly store and changing their shoes, putting on their waterproofs and going outside. And forest school sessions don't get cancelled because of the rain!!!

 

Helen Bilton writes about the outside being the other half of your classroom, and children should have simultaneous access to inside and outside. One of my pet hates is "The outside is open" announcements - all the children drop what they are doing and race off because they know it is a limited opportunity to get out there! Again in my nursery the outside was accessible about 15 - 20 mins after all children were in and until about 30 mins before they went home. The balance of children in/out at any time was evened out by just making it "there". Of course we had seasonal variations but we adjusted accordingly with the 3 adults.

 

It's never easy but nothing in this life that's worth doing never is really!!!!

 

Cx

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Hi I know that ofsted are wanting free flow access to outdoor play at the moment but how many settings are doing this.

 

We are a portacabin with two playrooms and an enclosed grassed area. We have four members of staff. One in each room and two floating depending on where the children are. Oh yes between 20 and 27 children each session.

 

In the summer it was great we played in both room for about an hour then shut one room and had the other room and outside open for another hour and half. worked well children chose in or out.

 

Now are problem is clothing. Outdoor is very muddy it takes for ever to get coats on wellies on etc for the children to go out for 10 mins then decide they want to come in. get them undressed then they want to go out again. We did it a couple of times and it was impossible. Also children and staff inside were cold with the door open.

 

We do go out all together on the school playground for about 20 mins each day on bikes or with bats and balls

 

What do others do and is this enough

 

angela

 

:o We were extremely lucky and received sponsorship from a local building firm who very kindly supplied wet weather gear for the children to wear all year round. We've managed to gather together a selection of wellies for the children to wear, which they love, and even insist on wearing them on really hot days too!

I really don't think it should be a problem to allow free flow, I know it's a pain if they're only out for a few minutes and then need help with their coats, but think of all the PSED development, not to mention other areas of the Curricula, and the health benefits of outdoors cannot be ignored. My setting is located within a highly deprived area, where most of the children do not have access to outdoor play areas so free flow is essential to provide them with the opportunities to play on a scale that is not permitted or possible indoors.

As for the heating issue, we opperate within a church hall, which is hard enough to keep warm at the best of times, but we find that the children quickly become aware of the routine and even though the door maybe pushed to they know they can access outside independently.

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we too go out about half hour after they have arrived to half an hour before going home in winter and probably 15 in warmer times

 

we have an opportunity to go to forest school and am excited about this

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Our pre-school room is on the second floor and we still manage to offer free flow of a sort for the majority of the day. Obvioulsy we can't have the door open as the children could potentially fall down the stairs. We have a large plant pot decorated with photo's of the outdoor area by the door and on the wall next to it we blue tack up all of the children's names (with picture reference for the little ones). If the children want to go outside, the children know to pop their names in the plant pot and carry on with their indoor play until a member of staff calls them to go outside. The staff check the plant pot maybe every 15-20 minutes and once their are 8 names (our ratio) in the box, she calls those children to go and and play.

 

It isn't ideal but it is the best we could safely come up with and it works, the children do understand the system. We haven't yet been inspected under the EYFS but we were inspected last May and the inspectore thought that this idea was a great use of the space we have.

 

We are open 8-6 and the children can free flow from 9-1130, 12.30-330, 430-6 (providing it isn't dark as the outdoor area isn't lit).

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As most of you said I think i am putting barriers up. We are luckier than most having this outdoor area and I must make more effort. Last Friday it was really nice so the children went out and loved it. I really must not have the attitude that they can go out if it is nice. i will speak to the staff next week and maybe we can at least have a couple of days to start and see how it goes.

 

what activities are you putting out?

 

angela

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:o We were extremely lucky and received sponsorship from a local building firm who very kindly supplied wet weather gear for the children to wear all year round.

Lucky you, Griff! I am waiting for details of our quality and access grant funding and will hopefully be able to include a bid for some waterproof clothing for all our children. Our outdoor area is set to paving and shingle, although most of the shingle has actually disappeared so whenever it has rained it is actually paving and mud! Not that the children care much - but we adults seem to care about muddy trousers etc!

 

Welcome to the Forum - looking forward to hearing more about you!

 

Maz

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Angela, you sound like me!

 

I was really challenged when I read an article on the Nursery World website: http://www.nurseryworld.co.uk/inDepth/8749...rs---Wrap-warm/

called 'Enabling Environments: Outdoors - Wrap up warm

 

'Are you a mud-lover, a mug-hugger or somewhere in between? Annie Davy explains why being an early years practitioner today is an outdoor job.'

 

This winter I have been a mug hugger, but its really challenged me to change my attitude and really have a go!

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  • 1 month later...

We have been using a butchers curtain that has been designed for freeflow play. It seems to do a good job at keeping heat in and the kids love moving in and out freely and are almost expert at putting their coats on and off themselves!!

We ordered it online from www.freeflowcurtains.com

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