Jump to content
Home
Forum
Join Us
Articles
About Us
Tapestry

Continuous Outdoor Play - Is It Achievable


Guest
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi there in my final couple of weeks now of my BA - and just would like some of your thoughts on Outdoor Play. Just to make sure I havent missed anything!!

 

My question to you all is - do you believe continuous outdoor play is achieveable in early years settings?

 

 

Many thanks (in advance) for you help

 

Jo :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, not realistically with carpeted indoor space, or preschools who don't have a readily accessible outdoor space, or those whose outdoor area is shared with other casual users (strangers) who cannot be relied upon to close gates and wander through where children are playing and stop to chat with them!!!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest pamgreen

I think it depends on our setting. In an ideal world it definitely is. We are operating continuous outdoor play. However we do not have the problems that Cait pointed out. We are in a purpose built building with our outdoor space leading from our main playroom.

Previously our nursery was in a village hall to get to the outdoors we had to go through two rooms and then down steep concrete steps. Life was much more difficult for us then.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree it is achieveable with a willing team.....unfortunately there is still a bit of "it's a bit cold" and "what if" attitude from some practitioners that I have worked with. :(:(:oxD

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes it is definitely achieveable but we leave the doors closed for the first 30 minutes (settling in and brief group time) and we bring them all in for story for the last 20 minutes. In our latest (outstanding) ofsted the outdoor area was quoted as being a 'classroom in itself'. You have to make sure that the staff understand that it is not just playing out but there are lots of learning opportunities outside.

 

Sue

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's a goal worth aiming for, but tricky for many settings. We've just built a garden and now we are trying to create a free flow so that the children can go in and out. I'm looking into something called 'play barriers' so that the children can cross a small bit of the car park in safety and get into our garden.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with many of the comments above. We are a sessional pre-school for children 2 - 5, in shared accommodation. We have a small outside area which we can have nothing permanent in which means the 1st 30 mins are setting up, the last 30 mins tidying away.... in theory. Lately it is more complicated as lower numbers of children means less staff plus we have one SEN child who likes to escape. This means we have to limit the access to outdoors dependant on staffing and the mood of the child..... Sounds like an excuse but continuous freeflow outdoor play for us is really judged day to day because that's all we can do!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our setting is upstairs so free flow outside is impossiable enless we constructed a big slide (which i think is a great idea) xD:o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe it is achievable if you have some sort of outdoor shelter to keep children from becoming soaked in a heavy downpour! mrsW

Link to comment
Share on other sites

most definately achievable, and we have no shelter, few mature trees but good waterproofs and we are out all weathers and only in high wind do we not go out

 

it is i think a mind set sometimes and i have heard a lot of excuses to why we dont go out (when people visit our setting) and none as to why we do go out.

 

i know we are lucky we have a great garden, it does have its problems as we are in a church hall and have to set up in and out, but the benefit to our children boys and girls is second to none and far out weighs anu soggy, wet clothes !!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ideally , yes but there are constraints on some settings. Not ones which can be overcome by creative thinking or concerted effort.

 

Some really have no outdoor space and unable to find any...

 

unable to do free flow for many reasons, we could not free flow our outdoor access area was out a back door along an alley and through another high gate. We considered a gate so we could use door an alley but could not as we would block a fire exit .

we felt lucky to have outdoor space..I know another group who had none and no chance of getting any.

 

Inge

Link to comment
Share on other sites

most definately achievable, and we have no shelter, few mature trees but good waterproofs and we are out all weathers and only in high wind do we not go out

 

it is i think a mind set sometimes and i have heard a lot of excuses to why we dont go out (when people visit our setting) and none as to why we do go out.

 

i know we are lucky we have a great garden, it does have its problems as we are in a church hall and have to set up in and out, but the benefit to our children boys and girls is second to none and far out weighs anu soggy, wet clothes !!

Hi Suer, we do free-flow and we run it for the whole session. I do find though that if it starts to rain after 10 minutes of playing in the rain (with no shelter from trees or anything) that the children choose to come in. Sometimes, like today when the rain was not too heavy quite a few children chose to stay out. mrsW.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our setting is upstairs so free flow outside is impossiable enless we constructed a big slide (which i think is a great idea) xD:o

Hi Poggle and welcome to the forum!

 

We operate from the first floor of our building too - a big slide........now you've got me thinking!!!

 

Sunnyday

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember someone having a good idea for people on first floors. They have a chart where if children want to go out they put their name on the board. When there are anough an adult will take them out.

 

My problem is not access we have our own building with two rooms and a small secure outdoor area. We find we cannot staff both room and outdoor with 4 staff and 30 children. we play in both rooms for about an hour then use the one room which has all the creative stuff in and outdoor area. My problem is as soon as you open the door they all want to be out so not really free flow. They have the opportunity to be out for up to an hour and a half before tidying for lunch.

 

I do not know how else we can do it. I am trying to provide as many activities outside but am reluctant to put out trains, cars, best dolls, dressing up etc outside as they will get ruined.

 

any suggestions to what you provide.

 

angela

Link to comment
Share on other sites

we let our equipment go in and out it doesnt get ruined if they take a toy out they have to bring it back in - toys are ment to be played with, i still dont get ratio bit if you have 16 children out (if working on 1:8) 2 staff are outside

 

mrsw but that is what free flow is about.... if they choose to come in then thats there choice, i have children who wont go out at all and thats fine its all about a child's choice

 

 

another setting i know wont offer free flow all time because children fight over the cars........have the cars out all the time and the novelty will wear off and other resources will be used more just excuse because staff dont want to be out sorry to be harsh

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We used to operate continuous free flow to the outdoors pre EYFS without any problems. Once all the children were in the setting and the area secure the door to the outdoors was unlocked and children could come and go as they wished.

 

I prefer to restrict the use of wheeled vehicles unless there is a focus.

 

We consider ratios are for the setting as a whole (indoors and out) so if most children are outdoors most staff are out too and vice-versa.

 

Suer what would you do about ratios if for example 11 children were outdoors?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

another setting i know wont offer free flow all time because children fight over the cars

 

Perhaps they should think about providing some more stimulating resources. If cars are the most exciting activity out there I think they have some work to do.

 

Or is that just me?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

.

 

I prefer to restrict the use of wheeled vehicles unless there is a focus.

 

Marion, it's great to hear someone else feels that way about wheeled vehicles! I don't know if it's the physical layout of our outdoor space, but if I have bikes out with no other focus, the children just go up and down, up and down with very little purpose or learning going on as far a I can see.

But they are great when used within other contexts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

yes it is achievable!!obviously we do this after 9am with appropiate staffing and when children have signed in.The doors are open and children are able to play on a slope.This is part of our continuous provision.Ie some weeks we have water and pai nt brushes,sand ply,basketbaal hoops,slide,trampline.The only downfall we have is that they cannot really move fully about ie running and using the balancing log or bikes which are used when we all go fully outdoors into the out door area.While the children are on the slope other children are indoors so yes it can be achievable with work!! :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[We found that for the first couple of weeks most of the children spent most of their time outside.. and it was manic.. but gradually over the course of a half term they settled down and started to go in and out. Now some choose to stay in all morning.. and others choose to stay outside.. and most go in and out.. so it definatley was just a novelty thing to start with. Once they get used to it.. it just becomes another space to be in - and they will move freely ... .we had a few reluctant staff but they are now seeing the value of it. You just need to take a deep breath and take the plunge!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My only other comment is that you have to train the staff to enjoy being out there! I have an amazing member of staff who has responsibility for our outdoor area - it is her classroom. She is outside all morning.. and is truely fab! But she just loves being out there.. come rain or shine and spends ages making resources that will withstand the elements out there. but I also have staff who are ok outside if it is sunny.. but the sign of rain or cold wind.. and they will try and creep back indoors!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are in a village hall and at present do not have free flow! However, we have applied for a grant to purchase a canopy and astroturf so we can use the garden all year round. My question would be, 'how do you monitor children/staff ratio's?

 

I was thinking of having say 8 coloured bands on pegs and one member of staff outside. I would then know how many children are outside at any one time? I suppose this could be increased to 16 bands and 2 staff on busier days. Does anyone use this

type of system? ps. sorry to hijack thread :o

 

dottyp

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have free-flow indoors and out and find it is much much better. I am aware that we are priveledged though as we have outdoor space directly from the play rooms. I think there are a very few settings, mainly in hired halls, where this would be very difficult, but most could find a way if they really want to.

 

It is so much better to let the children with too much energy (it does tend to be boys) run and build outside with large construction equipment. I think the key is having lots of found and cheap, materials for den making, constructions etc.

 

Gruffaol2

:o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

why retricted wheeled objects to a focus activity?????????????????????? what happened to child intiated or a child with a schema or children who want to be traffic contol police or want to pretend they have diggers to dig with or be super heros to drive to a much needed person................usually me!

 

11 children outside over 3 then that is 2 staff depending on where the key person for the day needs to be in our setting then she may be out to

Edited by Suer
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)