It is essential that young children get frequent and regular opportunities to explore and learn in an outdoor environment and this should not be seen as an optional extra.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum, which covers children aged birth to the end of the Reception year, became statutory in September 2008 and places strong emphasis on the importance and value of daily outdoor experiences for children’s learning and development.
Here are just some of the powerful benefits gained by allowing young children to venture beyond their immediate indoor environment:
- Learning outside the classroom supports the development of healthy and active lifestyles by offering children opportunities for physical activity, freedom and movement, and promoting a sense of well-being.
- Learning outside the classroom gives children contact with the natural world and offers them experiences that are unique to outdoors, such as direct contact with the weather and the seasons.
- Playing and learning outside also helps children to understand and respect nature, the environment and the interdependence of humans, animals, plants, and lifecycles.
- Outdoor play also supports children’s problem-solving skills and nurtures their creativity, as well as providing rich opportunities for their developing imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness.