Outdoor play and learning have always been at the centre of what we do here at Lilycroft Nursery School for children from two to five. Our Nursery began its life as ‘Lilycroft Open Air Nursery School’ in 1921 and since then we have embraced the outdoors as an essential part of our curriculum.
Anyone who takes children outside regularly sees the enjoyment and sense of wonder and excitement that is generated when children actively engage with their environment. Opportunities for active learning help children to enjoy learning through play and exploration. Some of the key benefits of learning outside the classroom in the early years include:
- Supporting the development of healthy and active lifestyles and promoting a sense of well-being.
- Giving children contact with the natural world and experiences that are unique to the outdoors, such as direct contact with the weather and the seasons.
- Improving self-esteem, self-confidence and behaviour in children who may find settings indoors noisy or intimidating.
- Supporting children’s problem-solving skills and nurturing creativity, as well as providing rich opportunities for developing imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness.
- Providing children with space, both upwards and outwards, and places to explore, experiment, discover and develop their physical capabilities and motor skills.
- It is more accessible to those children who learn best through active movement. Very young children learn predominately through their sensory and physical experiences, which supports brain development and the creation of neural networks.
- It gives opportunities to teach children personal safety skills and get them involved in early risk management, e.g. road safety; stranger danger; water safety; what it is safe to touch and what to avoid.
- Children experience considerable enjoyment and an undoubted sense of wonder and excitement when they actively engage with the outdoor environment.
- Helping children to make sense of the world around them, and giving real life context to support learning through play.