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Hello to whoever is out there!!! my name is liz and i am currently researching imaginative play for my foundation degree. :o I am intersted to find out what sort of bariers (if any) you may come across in your settings with regard to outside play. If you have any previous experience of planning and setting up an outside play environment for imaginative play i would be very interested to hear about it.

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Hi Lizrobert,

 

Not sure if this will be of any use to you, but the main barriers i have come across when wanting to change the outside play area is "Staff". I have found some staff who have worked in the same nursery for years and have not wanted to update their knowledge within early years have become very set in their ways and well dare someone new try to suggest new ways of promoting learning for the children. Other barriers can be management who have control of the budget and may not agree with your ideas, (which is fine, having been a manager in the past, i also realise managers have a budget to follow and not every idea can be set up). The hardest thing for me at present is, i believe children should have little hidey holes in the garden, obviously set up safely as children love to explore under trees and bushes and hide behind them, but for proper reasons the children in the nursery i work in are not allowed to go behind the trees and bushes. This would be an ideal opportunity for the children to use their imagination. I would also love to have a platform of some sort to use as a stage for the garden with props, such as music, scarves, and dressing up clothes.

I also think it would be great if children could have access to the garden through out the day. A barrier in the nursery i work in, is there is a rota for garden time, also my room is not near the garden, we have stairs to go down first. i visited a nursery recently and the children had access to a wonderful garden through out the day with lots of wonderful learning opportunities to develop imagination and all the other learning areas, they even had ropes out for the children to access as and when they wanted to promote schemas of tying objects together. The building was designed in such a way to allow access to the garden at all times and covered areas in case of bad weather, if ever there was an award for the design of an outdoor play area, they should get it.

 

 

 

Rosepetal

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Guest tinkerbell

Hi Liz and welcome

My barriers to outdoor play in my R/yr1 class are having to go through another classroom (yr1/yr2) to get outside........so we go out in groups come in in groups.

Also myself and TA so timetabling

Not enough room in the area for the whole class so we all go on the field on wednesday afternoon.

Weather hurrendous winds and horizontal rain for quite a few months of the year.

 

 

Any good??

Tinkerbellx

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Hi

Welcome to the forum. The barriers I have come across to outside play is the fact that we have to share the area, with the school which can be an issue as we have little ones under two. other factors that can be barriers to outside play is again staff attitudes and motivation and readily availble rescources and been able to store so they are easily available. Hope this helps. Shelley

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Hi Liz. :o

Barriers I've come across would also have to include staff attitudes either due to ignorance or tradition.

They see it as a chance to stand and chat, or merely police the area while other staff have lunch. Equipment is reliant on staff being bothered to get it out.

Outdoor play is frowned on by some because they dont see or wont see that the curriculum can be used outside.

I actually know one nursery where outdoor play is banned on sunny days, even with hats and suncream, all children stay inside until around 4pm when the playground is mostly in shade.

Mess is not allowed in some settings, the puddles are swept away before the children go out and they have to stay off the grass. I recently suggested some logs and a bog area which was answered with worried of frogs and splinters.

I was once asked to take a small group of pre-school children to the sensory garden, but I was told 'dont let them touch the ornaments'.

 

Some places have no secure outside area or a very small area, so no room for more than a handful of children at a time and limited to a few pots for growing. The new EYFS says children should have access to outside at all times, it's really not going to be possible in some places.

xD

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Attitudes are difficult to change. Many people regard the outdoor space as somewhere primarily for physical activity - let them run around and wear themselves out! My own children have all utilised the outdoor in a much more imaginative way but you need to let the children have the freedom to develop their play themselves. I also agree that many outdoor spaces are too sanitised - let them have trees, bushes, muddy places, stones etc and use their imagination. This is one area that is already rich with natural resources and you don't need to add lots of man made plastic items to make it more interesting.

 

Examples from my own children - they made a shop which was stocked with a range of items made out of mud, twigs, leaves, stones etc. - city for the cars with roads and buildings made from slate and stones in a muddy area - houses for their animals made with stones and mud (shown how to make these stronger using grass mixed into the muddy mixture)

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Outdoor play is such a big thing and so it should be. I worked in a nursery that had direct access to outside which was a bit dull and boring and as it was a shared building we could not put things in their - all had to be removable. However, we overlook a wonderful green area, ponds galore, fantastic nature and we do a nature walk once a week. I would love to do it eveyr day but my risk assessment wouldn't allow it. I will only walk with a ratio of 1:3, there are too many risks walking in public places with very little children 2-5 years. I am reliant on parent helpers for this and now most parents are working, this is not possible. Dog walkers who let their dogs off the lead and let their dogs crap everywhere, ponds and water, 2-3 foot gullies with fairly deep drops at some points and the road we have to cross to get there. We take every precaution possibly but there have been some very stressful times. Dont get me wrong I am not overly protective and I am prepared to take some risks. One week we had an abandoned dog following us around, well he wasn't actually abandoned but had lost its owner and was cleary very excited at having found some new friends. Despite calling the number of his name tag his owner was not replying. In the end we had to tie him up with a piece of rope and one of the Mums took him home as the owner could not be traced. The swans during winter and nesting time are very aggressive if no one had fed them and can get very close and threatening especially for those who are smaller than they are. I cannot tell you the number of times the children have slipped on dog pooh which tends to get everyhwere - calling pooh alert throughout the walk is not my idea of a nature walk. It would be good to get out more often but I just feel the risks are too great to walk with a different ratio and whilst I know I could, I just don't feel comfortable with it knowing all the risks. One car driver, a woman at that, mounted the pavement where the children were lined up and tried to drive around the children - can you believe it! It was shocking. We have had several other incidents and therefore I know the risks and how quickly we can get into trouble. If I could get more adults I would certianly walk every day but just not possible. However, we do have a great time when we do go out - we catch frogs, newts, toads, listen to the birds, see their nests, watch the cygnets, make dens and I wold love to have a patch of the woods to create a forest school. Lots of imagination goes on we pretend all sorts of things, we pretend we are alfie bear trying to find things to entertain his new siblings, we pretend the toadstools are fairy umbrellas, there are bears in the woods - allsorts of things and I would love to use it more but its not to be.

Nikki

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we are also fortunate in that our children have free access to a secure outdoor classroom.

I find that the children initiate a lot more of their own imaginative play ideas outside - making trains/buses/rockets with large boxes, car wash (today!), ice-cream van/ cafe/ picnic, also lots of superhero play outside as this is more difficult inside.

 

We have often responded to the children's ideas by planning to set up a more permanent RP area outside e.g. ticket office for the trains or resourcing a cafe but this rarely seems to work as children seem to move onto different ideas more quickly in their outdoor play.

 

Most successful system we have is to have a trolley (PE storage type) with boxes which the children can access to take outside and we resource these with some basic, permanent RP props and add props in response to their interests e.g. a shop box - till, notepads and few items to sell. Trolley is kept in classroom just inside door to outdoor area but can be wheeled outside.

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We have just had our outdoor storage replaced (we now have a large garage with double doors... all equipment is stored at the sides and rear and vehicles /bikes can be parked up by the children )and it has had an immediate impact. The children are now able to access all resources independently where in our three tatty sheds which were falling to pieces an adult had to drag everything out all the time.

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Biggest issue for me this year has been staffing, as I'm in reception and only have help in the morning. Our once enjoyable outdoor area has, shamefully, been rather neglected this year, as it's not sufficiently large and equiped to keep all the class actively (and safely) engaged in meaningful activities - so can only be used when support is available.

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I too am lucky to work in a nursery with good, natural outdoor space which the children LOVE in all weathers. I feel one of the biggest barriers is 'fear of injury' Some staff are so worried the children will hurt themselves in some way that they don't allow them to explore the outdoors as we probably would have done when young - climbing trees, balancing on logs, dragging branches around and making dens type of play - and also 'fear of mess' again some people seem to think that children should appear clean and tidy at all times - what about making potions in the mud and generally getting close to nature.

 

Take risks and get dirty I say :o

 

Sam x

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Guest toddleo

Our biggest barrier is being in a shared church hall with No outdoor space what so ever. Well actually, there is an alleyway about 1 metre wide and we are going to have a go at turning that into a painting and plant watering area, at least so the children get a view of the blue sky once in a while! How lovely it would be to have our own premesis with our own little space outside! one day .....(we are a pre school by the way)

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  • 3 weeks later...
You might be interested in this http://www.mindstretchers.co.uk/articles.html

 

Good site, thanks Marion. I'm in midst of special project, investigating value of play (assessing parental views). Found good stuff on 'play' (although I would welcome more if anyone has favourite sites/articles they care to share) However, I've found very little research into parental views?

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Hello to whoever is out there!!! my name is liz and i am currently researching imaginative play for my foundation degree. :o I am intersted to find out what sort of bariers (if any) you may come across in your settings with regard to outside play. If you have any previous experience of planning and setting up an outside play environment for imaginative play i would be very interested to hear about it.

 

Hi Liz,

I went the the EYFS launch last week where we were reminded that as from September 08 it is statutory for all children to receive periods of outdoor learning 'every day' - in all weathers unless dangerous. Biggest barrier for me is mixed ages (youngest child 4 months, several others not walking, toddlers and also 3 - 5's). It will be difficult to supervise them all outside together if it's raining or snowing - for example, we will have to ensure those who cannot walk are either in buggies, bouncers, walkers, high chairs and not getting too cold/wet if unable to move around, and at the same time supervise those who have just started to toddle, along with those who are flying around like superman. Saying that, we do enjoy good outdoor play and mostly it's manageable - I think the children's favourite imaginary play area is 'Jacks pad' - a play-shed donated by a lad who had outgrown it (we kept his name plaque on it) xD there's a portable play kitchen, table and chairs etc -the children love filling a bowl with water, washing up the kitchen resources and making everyone dozens of cups of tea (funny.........., they always say tea, not coffee). Another barrier, particularly with mixed ages, could be babies given sandy cups of tea to drink or sand in their eyes - one has to supervise diligently.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi 'rosepetal', thank you very much for your reply, i am sorry that it has taken me so long to get back, but have snowed under doing the project. Your information was brilliant and i was able to use it withn my research. once again thank you, and look out for me on here soon when i attempt my BA!!!! (must be mad).

Hi Lizrobert,

 

Not sure if this will be of any use to you, but the main barriers i have come across when wanting to change the outside play area is "Staff". I have found some staff who have worked in the same nursery for years and have not wanted to update their knowledge within early years have become very set in their ways and well dare someone new try to suggest new ways of promoting learning for the children. Other barriers can be management who have control of the budget and may not agree with your ideas, (which is fine, having been a manager in the past, i also realise managers have a budget to follow and not every idea can be set up). The hardest thing for me at present is, i believe children should have little hidey holes in the garden, obviously set up safely as children love to explore under trees and bushes and hide behind them, but for proper reasons the children in the nursery i work in are not allowed to go behind the trees and bushes. This would be an ideal opportunity for the children to use their imagination. I would also love to have a platform of some sort to use as a stage for the garden with props, such as music, scarves, and dressing up clothes.

I also think it would be great if children could have access to the garden through out the day. A barrier in the nursery i work in, is there is a rota for garden time, also my room is not near the garden, we have stairs to go down first. i visited a nursery recently and the children had access to a wonderful garden through out the day with lots of wonderful learning opportunities to develop imagination and all the other learning areas, they even had ropes out for the children to access as and when they wanted to promote schemas of tying objects together. The building was designed in such a way to allow access to the garden at all times and covered areas in case of bad weather, if ever there was an award for the design of an outdoor play area, they should get it.

Rosepetal

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Thank you for you reply,, sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you, i have been snowed under with writing up my project. your reply was very usefull and i was able to use it within my researh. look out for me on here soon when i attempt my BA!!!!! once again thanks for your help. liz

Hi Liz and welcome

My barriers to outdoor play in my R/yr1 class are having to go through another classroom (yr1/yr2) to get outside........so we go out in groups come in in groups.

Also myself and TA so timetabling

Not enough room in the area for the whole class so we all go on the field on wednesday afternoon.

Weather hurrendous winds and horizontal rain for quite a few months of the year.

Any good??

Tinkerbellx

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Hi, thanks for your reply, i have only read a few and the theme seems to be the same,, staff attitude and problems with access. your reply was very usefull in my research, i may get a few brownie points!!!

Look out for me soo when i attempt my BA, (must be mad).

Hi

Welcome to the forum. The barriers I have come across to outside play is the fact that we have to share the area, with the school which can be an issue as we have little ones under two. other factors that can be barriers to outside play is again staff attitudes and motivation and readily availble rescources and been able to store so they are easily available. Hope this helps. Shelley

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Hi, thanks for your reply, i have only read a few and the theme seems to be the same,, staff attitude and problems with access. your reply was very usefull in my research, i may get a few brownie points!!!

Look out for me soo when i attempt my BA, (must be mad).

Hi

Welcome to the forum. The barriers I have come across to outside play is the fact that we have to share the area, with the school which can be an issue as we have little ones under two. other factors that can be barriers to outside play is again staff attitudes and motivation and readily availble rescources and been able to store so they are easily available. Hope this helps. Shelley

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Thankyou so much for your reply, i loved the bit about going into the sensory garden!!!!! looks like i am not alone in my thoughts with regard to staff attitude. Once again thank you.

Hi Liz. :o

Barriers I've come across would also have to include staff attitudes either due to ignorance or tradition.

They see it as a chance to stand and chat, or merely police the area while other staff have lunch. Equipment is reliant on staff being bothered to get it out.

Outdoor play is frowned on by some because they dont see or wont see that the curriculum can be used outside.

I actually know one nursery where outdoor play is banned on sunny days, even with hats and suncream, all children stay inside until around 4pm when the playground is mostly in shade.

Mess is not allowed in some settings, the puddles are swept away before the children go out and they have to stay off the grass. I recently suggested some logs and a bog area which was answered with worried of frogs and splinters.

I was once asked to take a small group of pre-school children to the sensory garden, but I was told 'dont let them touch the ornaments'.

 

Some places have no secure outside area or a very small area, so no room for more than a handful of children at a time and limited to a few pots for growing. The new EYFS says children should have access to outside at all times, it's really not going to be possible in some places.

xD

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thank you for your reply,, you have given me some good ideas,, and i am glad to see i am on the right path. i have used some of your ideas in my project. thankyou...

Liz

Attitudes are difficult to change. Many people regard the outdoor space as somewhere primarily for physical activity - let them run around and wear themselves out! My own children have all utilised the outdoor in a much more imaginative way but you need to let the children have the freedom to develop their play themselves. I also agree that many outdoor spaces are too sanitised - let them have trees, bushes, muddy places, stones etc and use their imagination. This is one area that is already rich with natural resources and you don't need to add lots of man made plastic items to make it more interesting.

 

Examples from my own children - they made a shop which was stocked with a range of items made out of mud, twigs, leaves, stones etc. - city for the cars with roads and buildings made from slate and stones in a muddy area - houses for their animals made with stones and mud (shown how to make these stronger using grass mixed into the muddy mixture)

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Thank you for your reply, your comments about the dreaded 'risk assessments' and health and safety were very usefull within my research. it is also nice to hear that i am not alone with my problems of parent helpers.!!!!

Outdoor play is such a big thing and so it should be. I worked in a nursery that had direct access to outside which was a bit dull and boring and as it was a shared building we could not put things in their - all had to be removable. However, we overlook a wonderful green area, ponds galore, fantastic nature and we do a nature walk once a week. I would love to do it eveyr day but my risk assessment wouldn't allow it. I will only walk with a ratio of 1:3, there are too many risks walking in public places with very little children 2-5 years. I am reliant on parent helpers for this and now most parents are working, this is not possible. Dog walkers who let their dogs off the lead and let their dogs crap everywhere, ponds and water, 2-3 foot gullies with fairly deep drops at some points and the road we have to cross to get there. We take every precaution possibly but there have been some very stressful times. Dont get me wrong I am not overly protective and I am prepared to take some risks. One week we had an abandoned dog following us around, well he wasn't actually abandoned but had lost its owner and was cleary very excited at having found some new friends. Despite calling the number of his name tag his owner was not replying. In the end we had to tie him up with a piece of rope and one of the Mums took him home as the owner could not be traced. The swans during winter and nesting time are very aggressive if no one had fed them and can get very close and threatening especially for those who are smaller than they are. I cannot tell you the number of times the children have slipped on dog pooh which tends to get everyhwere - calling pooh alert throughout the walk is not my idea of a nature walk. It would be good to get out more often but I just feel the risks are too great to walk with a different ratio and whilst I know I could, I just don't feel comfortable with it knowing all the risks. One car driver, a woman at that, mounted the pavement where the children were lined up and tried to drive around the children - can you believe it! It was shocking. We have had several other incidents and therefore I know the risks and how quickly we can get into trouble. If I could get more adults I would certianly walk every day but just not possible. However, we do have a great time when we do go out - we catch frogs, newts, toads, listen to the birds, see their nests, watch the cygnets, make dens and I wold love to have a patch of the woods to create a forest school. Lots of imagination goes on we pretend all sorts of things, we pretend we are alfie bear trying to find things to entertain his new siblings, we pretend the toadstools are fairy umbrellas, there are bears in the woods - allsorts of things and I would love to use it more but its not to be.

Nikki

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thankyou very much for your ideas!!! i have used them in my setting as part of my project and it worked really well. thank you for your help. Liz

 

we are also fortunate in that our children have free access to a secure outdoor classroom.

I find that the children initiate a lot more of their own imaginative play ideas outside - making trains/buses/rockets with large boxes, car wash (today!), ice-cream van/ cafe/ picnic, also lots of superhero play outside as this is more difficult inside.

 

We have often responded to the children's ideas by planning to set up a more permanent RP area outside e.g. ticket office for the trains or resourcing a cafe but this rarely seems to work as children seem to move onto different ideas more quickly in their outdoor play.

 

Most successful system we have is to have a trolley (PE storage type) with boxes which the children can access to take outside and we resource these with some basic, permanent RP props and add props in response to their interests e.g. a shop box - till, notepads and few items to sell. Trolley is kept in classroom just inside door to outdoor area but can be wheeled outside.

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hi, thankyou for your reply, i think the overriding problem seems to be staff motivation,,, when i first thought about doing this project i only thought of providing furniture and lots of nice new things!!!! this is not the case,, the old cardboard box worked out to be the best piece of equipment i have ever laid my hands on!!!!

Hi Liz and welcome.

 

Barriers can be motivating staff to get stuck in.

 

Lack of shade.

 

Lack of open ended resources - a cardboard box is great and has so many uses.

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