playnotes • JANUARY 2009                                                  Make up inexpensive weather boxes.        Ground...
outlook • MAY 2007   playnotes                                                                                            ...
playnotes • JANUARY 2009                                                                      painting with water and expl...
playnotes • JANUARY 2009                                                                                                  ...
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Outdoors in all Seasons: Early Years Outdoors Learning


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Outdoors in all Seasons: Early Years Outdoors Learning

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Transcript of "Outdoors in all Seasons: Early Years Outdoors Learning "

  1. 1. playnotes • JANUARY 2009 Make up inexpensive weather boxes. Groundnotes Early Years Outdoors Use categories such as rain, wind, snow September 2004 Storage and organisation of and sun to extend outdoor learning. If resources you have limited indoor space for storage Groundnotes Shade and shelter in the school then keep these resources in an outside grounds shed, ready to use when necessary. Information sheets Gardening for wildlife, Label all resources, with pictures too, Learn with leaves, Shade and shelter and so that both adults and children can Shade structures locate and return them to the correct area All the above are available to download from when they are finished with. the Member Services page of our website. Consider how the children are going to access these resources independently. Use trolleys, for example, or transform a low Products cupboard into a resource which can be Magic snow from Hawkins bazaar, £1.99. wheeled in or out. Keep items which Visit children should have access to every day See also Members Offers on our website for Utilising resources as part of their continuous provision – for discounts on outdoor clothing etc Being organised is the key to making sure example: pencil crayons, chalks, paper, that resources are readily accessible to clip boards, paint, glue etc – easily Story books take advantage of changes in weather. available. The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle (Picture Puffin, 1997) ISBN 13: 978-0140557138 Flower Garden by Eve Bunting and Kathrynshade and shelter can be created so that Hewitt (Harcourt Brace International, 2000)children can be kept safe and comfortable ISBN 13:978-0152023720(see also ‘Further resources’). The Gigantic Turnip by Alexei Tolstoy and● Pinpoint those areas in the garden that Niamh Sharky (Barefoot Books, 1999) ISBN are most exposed to the sun at different 13: 978-1902283296 times of the day. Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper (Corgi● Home-made tents (using blankets or Childrens, 2007) ISBN 13:978-0552559736 sheets) and pop-up gazebos provide instant shade and shelter but remember Factual book that these may not protect against UV For activities and resources see The Little rays during the hottest part of the day. Book of Outside in all Weather (Featherstone● Planting a willow tunnel is a worthwhile Education) long-term solution but bear in mind this can take time to become established. Training● Look at investing in a veranda – this Further resources LTL offers a programme of training and would provide some shelter from the sun accrediting early years professionals who Playnotes July 2006 Water play and allow the children to be outside in wish to develop their skills and knowledge rain too. Groundnotes Early Years Outdoors through CPD. To find out more visit the November 2004 Whatever the weather● Another option is to use shade canopies training pages of our website. Groundnotes Early Years Outdoors January (see ‘Further resources’) which come in 2007 The WOW factor- attracting wildlife to Sources different sizes and colours and provide your outdoor environment (includes making UV protection. Learning Outdoors H Bilton, K James, a hedgehog habitat) J Marsh, A Wilson, M Woonton (David Fulton Publisher, 2002) ISBN 978-1-84312-350-9 help encourage outdoor play, whatever Foundation Themes Seasons L Powley the weather. (Scholastic, 2003) ISBN: 0-439-98464-5 In this area children should have easy The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) DCSF access to coats and wellington boots, (Crown, 2007) enabling them to become responsible for changing their clothes and shoes. Creating a Space to Grow Gail Ryder Although this can be time consuming, it Richardson (David Fulton, 2006) ISBN: 1- encourages children to be independent. 84312-304-5 Providing a seated area will help the younger children. Also, displaying © This resource was originally pictures of children in appropriate created as part of the Schoolgrounds-UK clothing (according to what time of year membership scheme from the it is) and labelling them will prompt national school grounds charity Learning through Landscapes children to make choices and operating in Scotland as communicate with each other and staff Grounds for Learning about additional clothing they may need Making it happen to put on. Using sequenced pictures can (registered charity no. in England and Wales 803270 and in Scotland SCO38890). Creating a transition zone – a place where support children in mastering the To find out more about children can make decisions about the technique of putting on their coat, for membership call 01962 845811 outdoor activities they want to do – will example. or visit IN ALL SEASONS
  2. 2. outlook • MAY 2007 playnotes January 2009 Early Years Outdoors Outdoors in all seasons chalking around them and observing what happens as they evaporate; make bubbles in puddles using washing up liquid and Being able to go outdoors whatever the Making the most of the food colouring. If your outdoor area season not only helps early years settings doesn’t gather water, create your own make the most of their outdoor space, but seasons puddles by filling builders’ trays with water also gives children the opportunity to have Children learn best through hands-on, (for more ideas on water play, see ‘Further different outdoor experiences, depending experiential opportunities, and the resources’). on the time of year. From splashing in changing seasons offer a vast range of If you are lucky enough to have snow use puddles in winter and sorting seeds in experiences that can help them discover black paper and magnifiers for catching spring, to exploring snail trails in the more about the world they live in. and examining snowflakes. Provide scoops, autumn and making kites in the summer, Here are some fun and stimulating ideas shovels, rakes and twigs for mark making. every season offers its own unique to help you take advantage of the changing Corks, sticks and bottle tops are good opportunities to increase a child’s seasons to deliver the curriculum outdoors resources to decorate snowmen. Watery knowledge and understanding of the whatever the weather. paint is fun for colouring snow. If it doesn’t world in which they live. snow, you can always pretend – use sheets This Playnotes will look at: Outdoors in winter to make igloos and/or give children an idea ● how to make the most of the seasons This is a great season for experiencing of what snow feels like by letting them for hands-on experiential learning, extreme elements. explore false snow (see ‘Further resources’). whatever the season. Weather Stock up on a variety of Growing Provide appropriate sized containers and buckets, absorbent spades, rakes and spoons for children to ● the problems practitioners face when (sponges) and non-absorbent (plastic) prepare the soil for sewing seeds in the using their outdoor area in all seasons. materials to collect, channel, transport and spring. Tasks could include tidying up the ● how to overcome these problems. measure rainfall. Explore puddles: try beds and removing the weeds. LEARNING THROUGH LANDSCAPES
  3. 3. playnotes • JANUARY 2009 painting with water and exploring evaporation. Weather On warm windy days take the parachute outside and/or let the children explore wind with lengths of different size material, ribbons and feathers. Paper bags make good kites too. Have fun discovering if any other materials are good for flying. Observe clouds – why are some white, some grey? How are they formed? Explore the water cycle; create a cloud collage. Outdoors in autumn From discovering the colours of leaves and fruits to finding out more about harvest time, autumn is a bountiful season. Nature Why do some trees lose their leaves? Encourage the children to look carefully at leaves, discovering their different shapes (see also ‘Further resources’). Can they find out which trees they come from? Discover also conkers in their prickly shells and compare them with acorns and sycamore seeds. Look at leaves and identify different autumn colours; mix paints to match. Explore mark making Wildlife Talk about wildlife and how with mud and water and different sizedsmall creatures survive in winter. What bowls.can you do to help? Provide logs, dead Wildlife Explore worms, observe howwood, a patch of carpet or piles of mulch they move, make a wormery. Whichto attract mini beasts such as woodlice, animals are getting ready to hibernate?beetles, spiders, centipedes, snails and Using a variety of resources, exploreworms. Make bird feeders and fill with making a hedgehog house (see ‘Furtherbird feed – use a selection of different resources’ for more information). If thecontainers then observe which one works weather is wet, you’ll find plenty of snailsthe best. If you have a pond, look at outdoors – observe them moving acrosspreparing it ready for frogs in the spring black paper and discover their silvery trails.(for more ideas on wildlife see ‘Further Growing Discuss harvest time andresources’). how farmers work hard to gather the food. Read harvest stories. Set up a role playOutdoors in spring farmers’ market. Encourage observationalThe outdoors in springtime provides lots drawing of harvest fruit and veg. Sowof opportunities for children to make ‘green’ manure seeds (see ‘Furtherdiscoveries about new life. resources’) in vegetable beds ready for Growing As the ground warms up turning over in the spring and workingyou can start growing from seed – ideal Outdoors in summer into the soil. Get new plants – perennials,for supporting numeracy when sorting, Keep the children safe and at the same trees – established ready for growing inmatching and comparing size. Choose time educate them about caring for the spring.annual flowers for a splash of summer themselves in the sun by having acolour. Get some herbs on the go but selection of sun hats, parasols, pop-up sun Your setting in all seasonskeep indoors until June (for more ideas on shades and sun cream to hand. In an ideal early years environment,growing see ‘Further resources’). Sunlight Sunglasses and pieces of free-flow allows children to make choices Wildlife Spot the birds appearing in cellophane allow children to look at the about the activities they want to take partyour garden. Bring in a bird’s nest and get world in different shades and colours. Use in, and whether they want to be indoorsthe children to try making their own with CDs, prisms and foil trays to discover or outdoors.different resources. Talk about baby about reflection. Some settings, however, may face aanimals and their homes, for example, Warmth On hotter days see how variety of problems that make using theirand the life cycles of butterflies and frogs. quickly ice can melt when you put it in outdoors in all seasons difficult. Here’sInvestigate eggs – different sizes, patterns different areas of your setting. Freeze how to identify potential obstacles, andetc. Discuss which animals are coming out water coloured with food colouring to ideas on how to overcome them.of hibernation. make coloured ice cubes, then let the Nature Go on a nature walk – look for children use them to make marks on paper Weatherbuds and blossom on trees, and see if you or the ground. Find ways of staying cool – Whatever the season, the weather incan spot any bulbs peeping through the make a variety of materials available for Britain can be very unpredictable. With theground. Collect some items that the wind creating cool, shady dens and enjoy water right kind of resources, however, the manyhas blown down and explore further play with resources such as hose pipes and variations of our changeable climate canthrough conversation and observational water sprinklers. Provide a selection of be a valuable resource that supportsdrawings. decorator’s brushes, rollers and buckets for children’s play. The key is being prepared.OUTDOORS IN ALL SEASONS
  4. 4. playnotes • JANUARY 2009 ● Consider replacing some of the grass/mud with either wood chips, tarmac or decking. ● Take advantage of the drainage problem in a small space and turn a wet area into a bog garden. Parents Some parents may be concerned about their children being outdoors when it’s very cold, very hot or very wet. Children value what their parents value, so it’s worth taking the time to help parents understand the importance for playing and learning outdoors. ● When showing parents around your setting, talk to them about the importance of outdoor play and reinforce this by showing them your outdoor policy outlining your setting’s vision and values. ● Hold a workshop as part of a parents ● Invest in water-proof clothing, ● Reinforce the importance of the open evening/day to explain the footwear and umbrellas. You may need outdoors by sending staff on importance of outdoor learning and to include these in your budget or appropriate training. play. purchase them through fundraising ● Acknowledge staff who are enthusiastic ● Create a display showing (see ‘Further resources’). about the outdoors and keen to photographs of the children learning ● Ask parents to bring in any unwanted develop this area and the range of outdoors and place it where parents clothing, including hats, gloves and resources on offer, both for the children arrive to pick up and drop off their mittens. and their own professional children. ● Ask parents to bring in a spare set of development. ● Invite parents to come and watch or clothing for their children to leave at ● Ensure staff have access to appropriate join in with their children playing the setting. clothing – this may mean investing in a outdoors. set of outdoor clothing for staff to use. ● Use opportunities such as newsletters© Apex to inform parents on other benefits of Drainage being outdoors, such as exercise and The grassy area(s) of your outdoor space fresh air. may become hazardous when it is very wet if the drainage is poor. Shade and shelter ● Get professional advice – the solution Very exposed settings may limit the way may involve mending a broken the outdoors is used because of the drainage pipe, or laying gravel or drain need to protect children from bright pipes to take the water away from the sunshine, cold winds and rain showers. area. There are various ways, however, that Staff attitudes from the elements. Each day is different as Staff need to feel enthusiastic about using we look at what the weather is offering us the outdoors – even when it’s cold and/or and then decide where we will go to make wet – to help facilitate playing and the best of it. learning and provide positive role models ‘Whether you have access to a tiny or a for the children. vast outdoor play area, there are ● When interviewing potential staff make enormous learning opportunities. The it clear that they will be expected to go children can watch the clouds moving out in all weathers. This should also be across the sky, figure the wind direction part of their job description and and search out shelter possibilities. They contract. Outdoors in all weathers can check the movement of the sun across ● During their induction period, put less Cathy Bache, childminder and pioneer of the outdoor area and anticipate the confident practitioners alongside staff Scotland’s first outdoor award-winning warmest place for snack time. They can who are experienced in using the nursery, The Secret Garden, talks about see where the rain collects and then find outdoors. Make sure they know how to the joys of being out in all weathers: the most exciting water play area. carry out risk assessments for the ‘Here at The Secret Garden we are very ‘We try and engage with the weather outdoors and, if necessary, set weekly lucky. We have a woodland to play in at its most exhilarating rather than achievable targets for individual staff to which provides us with natural protection avoiding it.’ meet. OUTDOORS IN ALL SEASONS