Outdoor play and learning
We all know that the great outdoors has a alot to offer and that it has huge benifits to us as individuals. Our outdoor provision is an essential part of children's daily environment and life. It sets children up for the future and the lifestyle they may lead. We also know that play is the most important thing for children to do outside. Here at Highway farm, as practitioners, we recognise this and it is imbedded into our Centre and its Ethos.
We plan the resources, outdoor environment and the stimulus so that children have the opportunity to develop and learn as part of their outdoor play. Every activity you can do inside can also be done outdoors, but with vigour, freedom and scale. We know that although children's play is valid in its own right, play and learning are intertwined. Play often intiates self motivated learning, particularly for younger children. We think that "play is learning that cannot be taught". A secure, safe and happy childhood is important and it provides the foundation for children to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up. We see our role as very important, after all, children could be in our care for upto 11 years.
* To have regular access to stimulating outdoor environments.
* To ensure that outdoor play and learning continues, regardless of weather.
* To create and use our natural outdoor environments fully to extend children's learning and opportunities in all areas.
* Encourage children to develop a sense of awe and wonder as they discover nature.
* Use fun and exciting materials outdoors.
*Teach children to keep themselves safe as they have the opportunity to explore, set themselves challenges and take risks with close supervision and support from staff.
* Allow children to use correct tools to help with tasks and activities.
We recognise that children are experts in their own play. We provide them with accessible and attractive outdoor spaces and give them the freedom. Children know how to intitiate environmental play on their own. Our adults roles are to support their play and learning. Without our freedom, expertise and the opportunities we give, some of them may never experience these life skills that we allow them to explore.
Our outdoor environments provide three main qualities that we feel are important, unique and appealing to children. We decided them, upon reflection of our own childhood experiences as practitioners.
1) Their unendind diversity.
2) The fact that they are not created or led by adults.
3) Their feeling of timelessness, the landscapes, trees and space can be like described in fairy tales and myths and can allow them to still exist today.
Part of our Ethos is that children should have long periods of time outside. Our children know that they can be outside everyday and that they can develop their ideas for play and learning over time and that they can choose, create, change and be incharge of their play and learning environment.