Playing outdoors provides the opportunity to observe, explore and become fascinated by the outside world.
At La Petite Academy, we have various outdoor areas around the nursery where children can play and access the fresh air, even when it is raining, due to our large canopy which extends out over the play area to the imagination area. Children bring in wellies so that they can dig and explore in our sensory garden; we have safety surfacing which includes a road layout with parking bays and roundabout where we can talk about road safety. The children have access to sand and water play and outdoor resources which support their freedom of choice and mathematical development. Babies and Tweenies groups go out on walks off the premises in double buggies to the local parks.
In our sensory garden we grow bedding plants, vegetables and herbs from Spring to Autumn. The children enjoy going to the garden centre in the nursery car, choosing plants to grow and ensuring that they are looked after through watering etc. during the summer months. This area also contains sensory equipment and a lovely outdoor story corner with tree stumps as seats for small groups to have an outdoor story.
We have a grassy area where in the summer we use a gazebo to provide shade, for outdoor play in this area.
In all of the outdoor play areas we encourage an indoor outdoor experience for the children whereby the toys, equipment and resources that are used indoors can be taken outdoors.
The outdoors gives children first hand contact with weather, seasons and the natural world. Outdoor environments offer children freedom to explore, to use their senses and be physically active and exuberant. A rich and varied environment supports children’s learning and development. It gives them the confidence to explore and learn in a secure and safe yet challenging outdoor area.