The outdoors is the very best place for young children to practise and master emerging physical skills. It is in the outdoors that children can fully and freely experience motor skills like running, leaping, jumping, climbing, balancing and where they can practise ball skills such as kicking, throwing and catching.
The outdoors has something more to offer than just physical benefits. Cognitive, social and emotional development is impacted too. Outside, children are more likely to invent games and as they do so, they're able to express themselves and learn about the world in their own way. They feel safe and in control, which promotes autonomy, decision-making, and organisational skills.
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 and the environment. 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.
The outdoor environment offers space and therefore is particularly important to those children who learn best through active movement. Very young children learn predominately through their sensory and physical experiences which supports brain development. With this in mind we have been developing and enhancing our Reception outdoor learning environment to ensure that it provides opportunities for children to learn, practise and master skills across all areas of learning.
Although the children are only playing to have fun, they are learning!