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Outdoor Provision


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Hi everyone,

Just looking for some ideas and inspirations for our outdoor area.

We are very lucky to have a very large outdoor area which is half tarmac and half grass/planted. We also have a play trail on the school field next to our outdoor area which we can access as often as we choose.

We have been trying to continually improve our outdoor provision so that children can experience activities and resources from all areas of learning. We do provide some similar resources to inside but also like to offer those experience which are particularly suited to the outdoors.

Because our outdoor area is so big, we are currently trying to split it into areas using plant pots and small fencing. So far we have a quiet area with logs and a bench and a selection of books, a play-house used for role-play, a small digging area, a creative/mark-making area with a table and stools next to draws with mark-making equipment, an outdoor easel, a whiteboard, a large sand tray on the floor and a 2 water trays (1 high, 1 low), an area for using small sports equipment, a construction area, a den area and a bike area. We also have a shelf just inside the doors with paper, scissors, clipboards, small whiteboards and books with resources as appropriate. We also have 2 tuffspots trays which we use for a range of resources - messy play, small world etc

We would like to develop a wild area and further develop our digging area (we desperately need overalls so the children can get stuck in!) As I write in down, it doesn't sound like we're doing too badly but we do find that it can get quite chaotic outside probably due to the size of the outdoor space and have to really direct the children who always want to play football (and I mean ALWAYS!! whatever is provide for them). We do believe that the children should be able to be more boisterous (if that's the right word??) outdoors and move in ways that is not possible inside but we feel that the play can be very repetitive and in need of more adult input to extend the learning.

What we could really do with is some advise for the next steps in order to create a less chaotic outdoor space which really challenges and extends the children's learning but is also manageable! Our SIP suggested putting up cards e.g. around the sand area - can you make 3 sandcastles?, is this something others do with different outdoor resources?

Thanks in advance for your advice - sorry to waffle on (as usual!)

Green Hippo x

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Just learnt today that we are able to apply for a Surestart grant of £5000 with a 10% input from school. So thinking sensory garden and wildlife area a good idea??

Another question - currently we have a rectangular area which the children can use for bikes when we provide them - do you think it would be better to create a pathway for bikes and other wheel vehicles to access the various areas of the outdoor space - thinking particularly about the grassed area? Would this give children more of a 'focus/purpose' on the bikes do you think?

Would really appreciate any advise

Green Hippo x

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One thing I would say is don't break up your grassed area with a track without giving it serious consideration. All the ones I've seen have been the bane of teacher's lives and the area enclosed by the track does have a tendancy to be somewhat 'lost' for pure CI things as the children automatically stop crossing the track to use it.

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