Campaigns: Outdoor Environment Campaign

Month 1

What Is Our Outdoor Environment Campaign?

We are excited to announce the launch of our latest campaign: the Outdoor Environment.  This campaign is running from August until October. For the first six weeks the focus is on reviewing your existing outdoor environment and identifying areas that could be adapted to enhance the children’s learning.  We are experiencing some glorious weather and now seems like the ideal time of the year to reassess your outdoor space.  So if you are looking for ideas on how to spruce up your space on a budget, zone your areas to create more learning opportunities and link your outdoor activities to a variety of skills to support your Startwell work then look no further.

 

Why Is It Important?

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum, places strong emphasis on the importance and value of daily outdoor experiences for children’s learning and development. We know that physical activity is crucial in the growth and development of children’s brains as well as their body, intellect and emotional wellbeing.  Research has shown us that many of the fundamental skills children need to master, such as fine and gross motor development, exploring and risk-taking can be most effectively learned though outdoor play (Johnson, J., Christie, J., Wardle, F. (2010)).

 

What Do We Need To Do?

We understand that no two settings are the same and therefore no two outdoor environments are the same.  You all have different sized space to work with and so you need to utilise the space you have most effectively.  To support you with this we have developed an ‘Outdoor Auditwhich covers everything from access and clothing to equipment, space and inventive ideas for creating new learning opportunities.  The audit should be your first step as this will help you get a good baseline of where you are at and can be used to create a whole setting action plan.

To further develop your zoned areas/learning bays we have created  information sheets with practical tips and activity ideas all linked to the Startwell characters. Here is the first one to get you started – ‘Outdoor Zones: Creative Zone’. The other zoned areas/learning bays will be emailed out over the next two months.

Concerned about cost?  Revamping your outdoor area needn’t be expensive.  We have put together some money-saving suggestions to spruce up your space – ‘Outdoor Environment on a Budget’.

To support you in developing skills in the outdoor area we have created a useful hand-out  - ‘Developing Skills in the Outdoor Environment’.

 

How Do We Evidence It?

To stay engaged in the Startwell programme and to keep your award active you are expected to deliver and evidence this campaign. Remember that photographs and planning are a great way to capture evidence; you can collate your evidence using your electronic journals or Startwell scrapbooks.

The outdoor environment is also one of the additional criteria for the Startwell Award. The evidence you collect to support this campaign can be used when you move on to the Startwell Award.

If you have any questions or require further guidance please contact the Startwell team on 0121 683 2303 or email Startwell@bhamcommunity.nhs.uk

1 Johnson, J., Christie, J., Wardle, F. (2010). The Importance of Outdoor Play for Children. Retrieved from: http://www.communityplaythings.com/resources/articles/2010/outdoor-play

 

Month 2

Following on from the launch of our Outdoor Environment campaign in August we now bring you the second part.  It is packed full with information and ideas on how to spruce up your space on a budget, zone your areas to create more learning opportunities and link your outdoor activities to a variety of skills to support your Startwell work.

Why Is It Important?

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum, places strong emphasis on the importance and value of daily outdoor experiences for children’s learning and development. We know that physical activity is crucial in the growth and development of children’s brains as well as their body, intellect and emotional wellbeing.  Research has shown us that many of the fundamental skills children need to master, such as fine and gross motor development, exploring and risk-taking can be most effectively learned though outdoor play (Johnson, J., Christie, J., Wardle, F. (2010).

 

What Do We Need To Do?

In part 1 we asked you to complete an ‘Outdoor Auditwhich covers everything from access and clothing to equipment, space and inventive ideas for creating new learning opportunities.  If you have not already completed this then do so now.

To further develop your zoned areas/learning bays we have created information sheets with practical tips and activity ideas all linked to the Startwell characters. Here are the next 6 ‘Outdoor Zones for October/November. The other zoned areas/learning bays will be emailed out in late November/December.

Concerned about cost?  Revamping your outdoor area needn’t be expensive.  We have put together another set of money-saving suggestions to spruce up your space – ‘Outdoor Environment on a Budget part 2’.

To support you in developing your outdoor area the two articles featured in our October newsletter will be of interest – Playing out report and Can Children Play Outdoors in All Weathers?

 

How Do We Evidence It?

To stay engaged in the Startwell programme and to keep your award active you are expected to deliver and evidence this campaign. Remember that photographs and planning are a great way to capture evidence; you can collate your evidence using your electronic journals or Startwell scrapbooks.

The outdoor environment is also one of the additional criteria for the Startwell Award.  The evidence you collect to support this campaign can be used when you move on to the Startwell Award.

If you have any questions or require further guidance please contact the Startwell team on 0121 683 2303 or email Startwell@bhamcommunity.nhs.uk

1 Johnson, J., Christie, J., Wardle, F. (2010). The Importance of Outdoor Play for Children. Retrieved from: http://www.communityplaythings.com/resources/articles/2010/outdoor-play

 

 

Month 3

In part 3 you will find our full zoned areas/learning bays document, the 7 new zones for December are Small Equipment, Climbing & Balancing, Snacks, Imaginative, Large-Scale Construction, Quiet and Baby Areas. For each one we have created information sheets with practical tips and activity ideas all linked to the Startwell characters.

We have also created our Outdoor Environment on a Budget part 3. This has some really lovely ideas linked to imaginative play such as creating fairy houses, ideas for ‘food’ for your mud kitchen and developing a wild meadow.  We are sure you will find something in here to get that creative streak going!

 

How Will Working On This Campaign Help Us

As well as improving your setting’s outdoor environment and increasing the learning opportunities for the children (and staff) you will also be able to utilise the evidence towards your Startwell Award.  Furthermore, the new Startwell Award has a whole additional criteria dedicated to the Outdoor Environment!

 

How Do We Evidence It?

To stay engaged in the Startwell programme and to keep your award active you are expected to deliver and evidence this campaign. Remember that photographs and planning are a great way to capture evidence; you can collate your evidence using your electronic journals or Startwell scrapbooks.

We love to hear what changes you are making in your settings as well as what has worked well.  Remember to share your work with us via our Startwell social media accounts.

If you have any questions or require further guidance please contact the Startwell team on 0121 683 2303 or email Startwell@bhamcommunity.nhs.uk

1 Johnson, J., Christie, J., Wardle, F. (2010). The Importance of Outdoor Play for Children. Retrieved from: http://www.communityplaythings.com/resources/articles/2010/outdoor-play