‘Let’s go and play outside!’ is a common phrase used by children everywhere, and that’s definitely a plus for their development. The health benefits for children of playing outdoors are well documented.
At many child care centres, the outdoor space is really the jewel in the crown. Cobram Pre-School is no exception, with the centre’s outdoor space offering a myriad of options for the little ones.
Toddle spoke with Jenny Creighton, Centre Manager of Cobram Pre-School, about her outdoor space and the amazing activities that are offered to the children in her care.
Why do you think the children love the outdoor environment in child care?
‘I think they love the outdoor space so much because it encourages them to plan and make choices about what ideas to pursue, what problems to investigate and what materials and resources to collect,’ says Jenny.
‘It also gives children the opportunity to engage in risky play, such as tree climbing.’
What are the main activities that the children enjoy in the outdoor space?
‘The children love our outdoor space,’ says Jenny.
Jenny shares ten popular options for outdoor play at the centre:
- Mud pit
- Outdoor art space
- Mud kitchen
- Activities such as tug of war or obstacle courses
- Cubbyhouse (which they have turned into a milkshake shop)
- Climbing frames and slides
- Construction area (where they use real nails and tools)
- Vegetable garden and worm farm
- Tree climbing
What types of excursions do you take the children on?
The children are kept busy with lots of opportunities to head out into the wider community to extend on their learning.
‘We do Forest School on a weekly basis,’ explains Jenny. This involves taking the children out to nearby bushland, to explore within nature, build teepees, climb trees, play with sticks, and have lots of free space to play.
Excursions are a big part of the centre’s programming. ‘We often walk to the local park for a picnic lunch,’ says Jenny.
‘We have visited the local bakery, local supermarket, police station, ambulance and any other community event that we can join. We also walked to the local park to plant trees for National Tree Planting Day.’
Do you think children naturally gravitate to an outdoor environment in child care?
‘Yes, absolutely,’ explains Jenny. ‘Children love the idea of being ‘free’ – however, for our Centre and location in Cobram – there is a large emphasis on being out in nature.
Our town is right on the Mighty Murray River and state forest so most of our families enjoy the outdoors on a weekend. Whether that’s camping, fishing, boating or bushwalking, they’re outside more often than not.’
The families love that their children get to participate in lots of outdoor play. They’re also happy for the children to take part in risky play, such as learning how to use tools for construction, as it builds their resilience. And we all know that children sleep well after a day of outdoor activities!
For the children, there’s no risk of boredom or too much indoor time when you’ve got so many amazing outdoor adventures to take part in.
You can find out more about Cobram Pre-School here, or find child care for your little one by entering your suburb name in the search box at the top of the page.
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