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Tapestry

Free flow outdoor play...


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Guest youngrisers

always outdoors in all weathers If staff are reluctant buy waterproof outdoor clothing no problem then.

Snow hail, wind and rain add to the curriculum unless there is dangerous weather storm force gales nothing deters us...we made some great kites out of plastic bags last week and watched them fly in the wicked wind. love the things children say!!!!!

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There are a few obstacles that make it a little difficult such as -

 

Our preschool unit doesn't have doors that open on to the playground so children can't have full free flow. This is our main issue as we want to be able to allow full access to outdoor play but cannot.

Also staffing - Due to numbers changing we sometimes don't have all qualified staff due to lunch breaks or staff holidays which means that leaving a large amount of children with them can be difficult.

Also we struggle as our children come in at various times and other units with younger children go out at different times which would still restrict us to an extent.

 

Thanks for your replies!

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Guest youngrisers

can you plan a sessional time i.e. an hour per morning or afternoon when the staff can take all children out and play/engage with them outdoors? this could be linked to your theme or topic of interest and creating an outdoor space does not need to be a massive task see communication friendly spaces by Gail Ryder Richardson landscapes for learning are good too

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That's what I would do a set time for your free flow both am and pm

 

You need appropriate clothing and wellingtons. Staff also need the correct gear too.

 

The learning from being outside out ways the problems of getting there.

 

We sometimes do not set up in the pre school but have a whole 3 hour session outside, love it

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There are a few obstacles that make it a little difficult such as -

 

Our preschool unit doesn't have doors that open on to the playground so children can't have full free flow. This is our main issue as we want to be able to allow full access to outdoor play but cannot.

Also staffing - Due to numbers changing we sometimes don't have all qualified staff due to lunch breaks or staff holidays which means that leaving a large amount of children with them can be difficult.

Also we struggle as our children come in at various times and other units with younger children go out at different times which would still restrict us to an extent.

 

Thanks for your replies!

Firstly i assume that the inspector felt you could free flow...or why would they have suggested it?

How do the children access the outdoors? do they have to go through the indoor rooms....you might want to work out some system with walkie talkies that would allow the children to be in sight or hearing at all times??

It is really tricky to help when we can't 'see' your issue...are there any settings you could go and see or could they come to you and help?

You may need to think outside the box for this one....what can you change to make it work? can you move rooms around or change the set up? if you want to make it work you will!! remember a problem is just a challenge in disguise! :P

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Hi OrchardGarden,

 

I do sympathise with you with this problem. We have tried lots of different ways of offering free flow to the children. We have two adults in the setting, so need to fit in with the 13 children per adult ratio, so this can be quite tricky to manage if children move from indoors to outdoors free choice. We also have an awkward outdoor area that goes around the corner, so has a significant blind spot. Me and my nursery nurse do go out whatever the weather, so this isn't an issue. We currently work with having two groups, one group goes outside first and the other group indoors then we swap. We did try giving the children the choice of indoors/ outdoors- but found that some children always stayed inside (missing out on gardening time and nature hunts etc) and then some children always stayed outside (missing out on baking and other planned activities). We follow the high/ scope approach so children do choose their own activities outdoors/ indoors, but I am now worrying from your post that when Ofsted come along they are not going to be happy with our routine because it isn't free flow?!!

 

Lumpty x

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Hi OrchardGarden,

I do sympathise with you with this problem. We have tried lots of different ways of offering free flow to the children. We have two adults in the setting, so need to fit in with the 13 children per adult ratio, so this can be quite tricky to manage if children move from indoors to outdoors free choice. We also have an awkward outdoor area that goes around the corner, so has a significant blind spot. Me and my nursery nurse do go out whatever the weather, so this isn't an issue. We currently work with having two groups, one group goes outside first and the other group indoors then we swap. We did try giving the children the choice of indoors/ outdoors- but found that some children always stayed inside (missing out on gardening time and nature hunts etc) and then some children always stayed outside (missing out on baking and other planned activities). We follow the high/ scope approach so children do choose their own activities outdoors/ indoors, but I am now worrying from your post that when Ofsted come along they are not going to be happy with our routine because it isn't free flow?!!

Lumpty x

 

 

The key is you go out outside, you make the best of what you have and you have risk assessed that this is what works best for you. You just need to be able to explain to O why you do something. Remember lots of settings with easy access still DO NOT GO OUTSIDE

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We don't have free flow as not practical for us but do have a balance of indoor/outdoor learning. As said before as long as you go outside it doesn't matter if it's not free flow, we are ofsted outstanding and explained why we do what we do etc and they were fine. As long as they can see the reasoning behind what you do and can see the children get all the opportunities outside I don't think they have a problem!

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Hi OrchardGarden,

 

I do sympathise with you with this problem. We have tried lots of different ways of offering free flow to the children. We have two adults in the setting, so need to fit in with the 13 children per adult ratio, so this can be quite tricky to manage if children move from indoors to outdoors free choice. We also have an awkward outdoor area that goes around the corner, so has a significant blind spot. Me and my nursery nurse do go out whatever the weather, so this isn't an issue. We currently work with having two groups, one group goes outside first and the other group indoors then we swap. We did try giving the children the choice of indoors/ outdoors- but found that some children always stayed inside (missing out on gardening time and nature hunts etc) and then some children always stayed outside (missing out on baking and other planned activities). We follow the high/ scope approach so children do choose their own activities outdoors/ indoors, but I am now worrying from your post that when Ofsted come along they are not going to be happy with our routine because it isn't free flow?!!

 

Lumpty x

We also work on a 1:13 ratio but base it on the whole setting, so we don't insist on 13 in/ out. If we end up with the majority in either area then we do go for everyone in or everyone out, rather than have one of us in or out with 2 children. The children all are within sight or sound of whoever is in or out, so I feel we are still within ratio. I thought part of the idea of freeflow was to give the children the choice.

Hope that makes sense!!

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This is the statutory position re outdoors and therefore the position that should be adhered to by any Ofsted inspector who is there to check compliance with what IS required:

3.57 The provider must ensure that, so far as is reasonable, the facilities, equipment and access to the premises are suitable for children with disabilities. Providers must provide access to an outdoor play area or, if that is not possible, ensure that outdoor activities are planned and taken on a daily basis (unless circumstances make this inappropriate, for example unsafe weather conditions).

As you can see there is no statutory requirement for "free flow" access between indoors and outdoors. If that were the case all the childminders in flats would be a bit stuck/inadequate.

Cx

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