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Outdoor Curriculum


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Both myself and the 2 Reception teachers feel that we must now take our indoors out and plan for each of the 6 areas of learning in be achieved in `all weathers`. We do have activities outside but have not yet devised a planned timetable for each area of learning. Has anyone done this successfully and produced a detailed plan of how it works and wpould be willing to share it. Thankyou

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:o Hiya! Hope you don't see this and think its going to be a great help-its not sorry! I too would be interested in anyone who has 'brought the indoors out' successfully. Do you mean to do ALL 6 aras outside? I try my best-eg playing hopscotch/counting skips, targets with ball-maths, ring games-Literacy/creative, going on a bear hunt or treasure huntmaths/k&u and pse is going on out there all the time. Physical is obvious-have I missed any out? These are just 'as and when' though. Sometimes planned into the half termly/ weekly plan, sometimes not. We have open access but no planned timetable for each area of learning. The only formats we use I've attached (not filled in-sorry just do this by hand)

Would like to hear what others do) :)

p73_Using_The_Outdoor_Environ_.doc

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sorry, I'm not very good at this attaching lark. While we're on the subject-is it possible to attach just one document when a load are saved under the same name does any one know? I have all our planning frameworks on disc but just wanted to send the physical one. Had to save that page then attach it that way if that makes sense?! Help plaease anyone!!

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Hi Zim -

You seem to be doing ok to me! :)

 

If you have a bunch of pages saved in one file, I'm afraid you'll need to break them out into separate files as you've had to do. Thanks for taking the time and sharing them! :D

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Thanks Zim. I am hoping to go on a half day course in Feb on Outside curriculum but as Ofsted are imminent we need to get going and to have made a start. Meeting the early Years adviser next week so will feed back key points if people are interested.

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Hi Zim, those look good, at the very least they become a starting point!

 

Gwen, hope your course will do what you want it to! The outdoor play courses I have attended while very interesting only really reinforced the notion that outdoor play was important and I knew that anyway!

Implementation is the tricky bit and that so much depends on your facilities. Now I am divorced from the school situation I am begining to see that my head wanted miracles and I became bogged down in the unrealistic expectations. Delegation didnt work for the same reason, the limiting factors of our outdoor provision.

 

So, if your medium planning clearly idenitifies the outdoor learning opportunities and intentions, I would think you ought to be a good way to satisfying Ofsted. Your facilities and the weather will then be reflected within your short term planning and the day to day provision that you offer?

 

I was disappointed to be pulled up in Ofsted verbally about our lack of outdoor use, in a cold, grey, damp week in January, when the children expressed no interest in going outside and the parents were on that "keep him indoors today" tack! But I can see that had my planning better expressed the opportunities, it might have been more acceptable and who knows I might have seen a way to overcome my inhibitions and lack of facilities! Am I on the right wave length?

 

Good luck and please do share any words of wisdom from your advisor.

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Hi,

I'm doing this a bit cold, as I've not yet actually looked at any of your attachments, folks, but for us the outdoors is 'just' an extension of the 'classroom', with the bonus of trees, etc! We have role play (recently acquired summer-housey thing should really excite the chn), dressing up, books, writing/markmaking, painting, sticking etc, notebooks, magnifying glasses, more books (reference-type), construction - well, really design and make plus.., shapes and numbers, photos (laminated and fixed up around the area) mobiles, weaving areas. Um. Does that give you the general drift?

 

We are a Day Nursery with very understanding owners, who are prepared to listen to the practitioners, which is great! However, we do have to keep a check on ourselves, as we're still on a budget! A lot has been achieved by looking at what's available, then making our own. Give it a go, the chn really do appreciate it! They even like to go out in damp, chilly weather!

 

Sue :D

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Hi,

I've been reading all these ideas on using the outside environment with great interest as I have put this as an area to develop on the nursery development plan.

I was just wondering how all you people who use lots of resources outside store them? We have a shed for cars and bikes etc and we also use it to store large role play stuff which we are not at present using. But if you are having dressing up, cut and stick, small world, writing, manipulatives etc outside, do you take it all in and out every session? And do you have sheltered areas outside? That is something I have been thinking of trying to achieve. I was just wondering if we should get another storage area just for resources to use outside. Unfortunately our outside area is accessed by a ramp or steps and cannot be freeflow.

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Having a trolley with all the creative bits, paper/glue/scissors etc and things like magnifying glasses is a good idea then you can use it as an outside resource bank whereyou need it. I would plan for my activities and then decide which werebetter inside and which out and highlight my plan accordingly, trying to get a balance of focus outside. I would be interested how people manage with "all weathers"..I had no covered area to speak of and a grass (read scrubland) area that turned to a swamp in wet weather, covering carpets etc indoors with mud. Parent's would complain about clothes and shoes and cleaners complained about the mess so i gave up and we stayed on the weeny concrete bit in the winter and in on wet days. Is there a practical common sense view or am I a bad practitioner in the eyes of purists?? :o

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First, Hi cas!! Don't think I've welcomed you before, so have fun, it's a great site!!

 

Catma - yes, of course, the trolley! Should have said, shouldn't I! We also use a cupboard in the Toddler Unit, which adjoins the outdoor area, for lots of the equipment. As outdoor stuff is a communal resource, it doesn't cause problems. Other stuff, like role play etc goes into a shed at the side of the building. As this is shared with parents, to store buggies etc, this can cause probs, so we are getting another shed purely for play equipment. We are lucky to have a colleague whose dad works for a company who make garden furniture etc, so have been able to do a deal on our recent purchases! :o

 

The surface is a combination of tarmac and all-weather 'stuff' - great, but inclined to give you carpet burns (!!) The all-weather surface dries really quickly, and isn't slippy when wet, so it's a bonus. We also have a small area for digging - we grew potatoes and carrots very successfully this year, although the sweetcorn was a bit weedy! xD The children also have use of a sandpit and a water tray. We have a sort of 'carport' thing built along the back of the building which affords some shelter, although in the summer we put gazebos up along the side of the garden, in which we locate the books and rugs etc for a quiet area, which the babies love! In the summer, the whole nursery often have tea together under there, it's lovely for all the different age groups to interact and means the children can become familiar with all the staff in a safe, unthreatening way. Siblings also get to spend time together. When it rains, instead of dashing inside, we go under there and have a 'sensory' time smelling, looking and listening then we'll have some storytelling -not reading, telling. There's an article on the site about this, if you're interested.

And in answer to your last question, no, I don't think you're a bad practitioner, but keep thinking about options available to you, you'll get that flash of inspiration! I'm afraid I can't remember off-hand what kind of setting you're in?

 

Anyway, enough of me,

Sue :D

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It was a nursery class in a primary school. Now not based in a school but I do have to have conversations about these issues with many different school based settings so it's very interesting to get different opinions. :D

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As we have a new garden attatched to the pre-school we are now including it in our plans, try a look at a fantastic book that helped me with my planning:

 

Outdoor Play in the Early Years Management and Innovation (Second Edition)

by Helen Bilton David Fulton Publishers.

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Thanks catma and Sue R for all that help. I really have no excuse now!!!!

We too have some sort of all-weather fake grass which was laid on top of the real grass. We don't have the mud problem any more but there seems to be a lot of subsidance underneath this product and the ground is very uneven. So anyone thinking about this BEWARE.

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Hi everyone,

I am just beginning to get my head around outdoor play and the area is still being worked on. My problem is this - last week we did firework pictures outisde - we all had wellies on - are kept in school and all my 27 have brought them which is great - but it was so cold we had to wear coats and guess what they got covered in paint. However I wrote a note and explained verbally at the end of the day thus avoiding any complaints so far anyway. But this set me thinking when we finally get into our area which is secure and child safe what about when we want to dig in the earth? Do we need overall style clothes for outside how do we buy them and where do we get them? Any ideas please.

Thanks Abi

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Cas - yes, subsidence can be a bit of a prob. We recently had to have the end of the garden (which is built up ground anyway) lifted and relaid, but it'd been in situ for 8 years, so I don't think that was too bad!

 

Abi - I would send letters to your families and add something to new starter info to say that you regularly dig and get dirty, so suitable clothing needs to be provided. Your current lot seem co-operative, if all have wellies, so that should work. If you have the space, you could offer to store them (with the wellies?) although they will need naming, which you'll need to point out if this is not current practice. Once the routine is up and running, it'll probably become self-perpetuating.

 

Any help?

 

Sue :D

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Hi Abi,

 

I was fortunate that my local EYDCP paid for some settings in our area to have membership to a group concerned with outdoors and the early years called LEARNING THROUGH LANDSCAPES.

 

They produce magazines, newsletters, curriculum ideas and offer a support / advice line.

 

In their November issue received today they have info of a supplier for outdoor wear. It looks pretty good the web address is: www.raindrops.co.uk .

 

I'll try a link raindrops

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Hi Peggy and Sue,

Thanks for the replies - raindrops looks a good site - quite expensive though. We are short of money at the moments - school budget and all that, so I can't see that happening.

Storage too is a problem - just like everyone else but I could probably short something out.

Thanks both.

Abi

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