A report published last week revealed many UK nurseries offer inadequate outside space to support children’s outdoor learning.
The survey, conducted by Learning Through Landscapes and the Early Childhood Forum, called for the Government and Ofsted to strengthen the statutory requirement for children in the Early Years Foundation Stages, stating, “providers must supply access to an outdoor play area or ensure that outdoor activities are planned and carried out on a daily basis.”
Chief Executive of Learning Through Landscapes, Juno Hollyhock, explains, "there is plenty of well-documented research about the benefits of play and learning outdoors for young children, including their physical development, which is an area of current concern for public health in the UK. So why are so many children in early years settings still not getting enough outdoor time?”
Health and safety concerns, inadequate quality of resources, negative parental attitudes and a lack of appropriate training have all been thought to hinder the development of outside spaces for nurseries and learning establishments.
This said, LTL and ECF remain determined to work alongside the Government and Ofsted to ensure that outdoor play remains high on the agenda.
Melian Mansfield, chair of ECF explains, "there is strong evidence that time spent learning and playing outdoors in the early years can help prevent obesity and improve mental health in early childhood.”
Commenting on the publication of the joint report, Melanie Pilcher, policy and standards manager at the Pre-school Learning Alliance, added, "we welcome this report and the attention it brings to the importance of outdoor play in early years education. Every child should have the opportunity to enjoy high-quality and meaningful outdoor experiences, no matter what kind of setting they attend. Although there is already a lot of high-quality outdoor play and learning happening across the sector, there is undoubtedly a need to empower and encourage practitioners to make the best use of the outdoor areas that they have."
And with the weather set to improve over the coming weeks as we head into Spring, nurseries and schools up and down the country will look to encourage pupils to spend more time outside wherever possible. One way these establishments can create a safe and practical space to aid outdoor learning is with the addition of a louvered roof, such as our Outdoor Living Pod shown below.
This Outdoor Living Pod, installed at Whitehouse Nursery, features an rotating roof which opens and closes at the touch of the button to offer a flexible, adaptable, all-weather covering to outdoor spaces, enhancing children’s outdoor education in accordance with Learning Through Landscapes and the Early Childhood Forum's suggestions.
Furthermore, our award-winning Pod (watch it in action here) also includes optional integrated windproof side screens alongside LED lighting and infra-red heating, enabling pupils to enjoy full use of the outdoor space 365 days a year whilst reaping the numerous health and well-being benefits of spending time outside.
To find out more about our award-winning Outdoor Living Pod and/or to receive a free no obligation survey and quotation, complete our quick enquiry form here and one of our specialists will call you back to discuss your requirements in greater detail. Alternatively, you can see us at The Homebuilding & Renovating Show next month, giving you an invaluable opportunity to see our full range of products in the flesh along with gaining sound, honest, expert advice regarding the right external shading system for your project.