The Importance of Outdoor Play
At Angels by Day, we believe that outdoor play is a vital part of childhood development, we allow the children to explore in all types of weather. There is no such thing as bad weather if you are wearing appropriate clothing.
Safe and Engaging Outdoor Environment
We provide a safe and engaging environment which supports outdoor learning. We have a large open space with a beautiful river where the children can see ducks passing by. We have climbing equipment to allow the children to take risks and develop their own boundaries using large, sturdy cable drums, a pirate ship and creating their own balancing beams.
Relaxation and Quiet Time Outdoors
We offer the children quiet time outside also. Nothing is more relaxing than snoozing while the birds are singing and the fresh air is in your lungs. Our bed mats are taken outside in the summer, and the children drift off peacefully. If they would like a relaxing moment, we have a bench and cushions to take a minute and enjoy a book and listen to our windchimes chime away.
Mud Kitchen: A Haven for Natural Play
Our mud kitchen, designed with the Curiosity Approach in mind, is a huge success. It is never blocked off and always remains open to encourage natural outdoor play using mud, sand, sticks, and freshly picked lavender from our garden. To enhance this curious and exploratory environment, we provide a variety of real, authentic items such as pans, muffin tins, and a microwave. While the children are engaged in this space, they are offered all-in-ones, but we do not interrupt or take them away from their play for being ‘dirty.’ This approach acknowledges that children learn best when they are fully immersed in the moment and enjoying themselves.
Imagination Sparked by Recycled Resources
We use recycled resources to spark the children’s imagination in our outdoor spaces, enhancing outdoor play with items such as delivery boxes, wooden pallets, utensils, and kitchen homeware. We also create literacy areas using upcycled pallets and painting chalkboards. We will call our local garages, electrical businesses, and florists for free donations of the items they no longer need. By doing this, the children are able to extend their outdoor play using their imaginations and create their own outcomes with real resources. We removed the laminated sheets of numbers and letters, replacing them with real wooden letters and real flowers planted by the children, allowing the children to be an integral part of their outdoor environment.
Adventure and Nature Learning in Local Woods
We have many adventures into our local woods, stimulating the children’s curiosity and nature learning of children of all ages, from our toddlers to our 3 to 4-year-olds, splashing in puddles, making mud paint and tree bark rubbings. The children are dressed appropriately and are encouraged to be children! Roll around, splash and get dirty. We took a walk and discovered the water had frozen over to ice. This was a great learning opportunity using curiosity, awe and wonder to break the ice and discuss the process.
Outdoor Play for Diverse Learning Needs
As a Montessori Nursery and Curiosity Approach Nursery, we value the benefits of outdoor play. Being outdoors is also a great release for the children who do not learn sat at a desk or restricted to a space. They need to be free to run and move safely in large spaces. We offer a range of surfaces ranging from grass, soft bounce flooring and pocket sizes of stones, rocks, and soil in play. We have children with SEN needs, and they love the sensory of digging, being wet and playing with the mud. We encourage this play and offer the children all-in-one weatherproof clothing that allows them to have their needs met. Some would discourage this because “it’s messy” or the child’s coat will get “dirty”, but we certainly support this outdoor play in our Montessori and Curiosity Approach Nursery setting.
Al Fresco Dining and Social Interaction
At Angels By Day, we transfer the highchairs, table and chairs outdoors, and the children will eat al fresco together, all ages mixed together, enjoying meal time with the fresh air and the sun shining on their faces. We will use blankets too, and have a picnic in the afternoon. The children particularly enjoy bird or plane spotting! Once finished, they can get up and go and enjoy the freedom.
Encouraging Responsibility and Environmental Interaction
We include the children in their environment and encourage responsibility, planting the flower beds in the tyres and watering them together. Filling up the sand tray, setting up activities outdoors and planting veg in our planter so that they can watch the process of the vegetables growing. Anything they play with indoors, we transfer outside, water, playdough, drawing and lots of learning opportunities such as drawing flowers, I spy, phonics and many more. We take full advantage of our large outdoor space for ample outdoor play time.