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Do You Limit The Number Of Children Outdoors ?


Guest Pebble123
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Guest Pebble123

We have free flow but find that most children want to be outdoors, so sometimes end up with 20+ children outside. The area is just about big enough to cope but that means they are not accessing the lovely activities inside !

 

Is it ok to either say which groups are inside or outside or have a system whereby only say 10 children can go out at a time. Or does this go against child initiated play if yoy are restricting them ?

 

Thanks !

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We let as many outdoors as want to be out there ( Our area is shared between 2 classes). There is always an adult in each classroom doing atleast 1 adult directed activity as well as art and craft, which naturally limits the number of children outside. But as a rule, we let as many be out as want to be!

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The prime concern though should be safety. You say it's just about big enough for the number of children who want to be out there so it sounds as if this isn't yet a problem. As long as you feel that the number of children out there isn't going to cause accidents or unnecessary risk then I would certainly say you shouldn't be limiting them in terms of where they are choosing to play as this would be restricting their child initiated choices.

 

I think you need to look at why these children all want to be outside. Are the activities more appealing out there than the ones you've set up inside? Or are they literally just running around or pedalling the bikes around doing nothing purposeful out there? If it's the former perhaps you could try changing the type of activities you're providing inside and 'talking them up' at the start of a session to get the children interested. If it's the latter, perhaps not having wheeled toys out on some of the days would help, or setting up activties based around this interest might be the solution.

 

Remember your lovely activities should not be done by the children just for the sake of them experiencing something we think is lovely. The activities are there to provide skills and experiences. Most skills you provide indoors could be provided outdoors as well so if you have a lot of outdoorsy children then you should take at least some of the skill learning to them rather than expecting them to go to the activity inside that might not appeal. There is loads of research that shows children learn better outdoors and also that they are more likely to speak outside so take advantage of this and make sure you're providing lots of lovely activities and learning experiences outside for them as well.

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I second Kariana's thoughts.

 

Children learn best in an environment where they are happy and engage better in activities of their own choice. If they are inside but waiting for a chance to go outside they are less likely to be really engaged in their learning. I'd focus my efforts on providing the activites outside instead so they are in the environment where they are able to learn best.

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We have the same at the moment with all the children wanting to be outside (we are a pre-school), doesn't matter what art & craft we put out they have no interest as they want to be in the garden!!

So Friday morning I moved the art & craft activity into the garden and guess what!! Yep all the children wanted to take part in art & craft!!

So I have come to the conclusion that at the moment the garden holds more excitment and creative and imaginative play for them, I tried setting up the same activity inside and out, inside it didn't get touched outside everyone was using it!!

It does become a little frustrating sometimes, as we have a great indoor space aswell and obviously we involve the children in what we put out they then disappear into the garden and have no interest in what they just asked for!!

Having said that quite a few of our parents comment on how their children enjoy coming so they can play in the garden!! So maybe we shouldn't complain and just be grateful for what we have!!

 

Kris

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You may find that the outdoors is quite novel for the children if they:

  • are new to the setting
  • have no garden at home
  • rarely play outside with parents or family

 

As time goes by and it gets colder (and wetter) you will find some children naturally gravitate back inside, and chidlren become remarkably good at 'self regulating'.

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Guest Pebble123

Thanks for all of your replies.

 

I think that being at the beginning of the year and them all being excited to be able to explore outside has a lot to do with it.

 

I do try to have lots of engaging activities outside so they are not just running around all of the time.

 

Im sure the colder weather will encourage them in a bit more too!

 

Just wanted to check I was doing 'the right thing ' !

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