Footsteps Aylesbury gives an outside perspective on outside learning
It is unfortunate that opportunities for children to access the natural environment are diminishing. Children are spending less time outside due to concerns over safety, traffic, crime, and parental worries. Modern environments have reduced amounts of open green spaces too, while technology has increased children’s sedentary time. It is for these reasons and more that many think settings have arguably the greatest potential – and responsibility – to give children access to natural environments.
Clay monsters, puppets, painting and animal movements are not nursery activities that you would traditionally associate with being outside. But at Footsteps we believe that learning outside has so many benefits and opportunities to learn from the world around us and we take every opportunity to take our planning into the great outdoors. Our approach is proven to help to:
- Develop self-esteem, take personal responsibility, co-operate with and respect the needs of others
- Extend their personal horizons through greater appreciation and understanding of the world
- Understand the need for sustainable relationships between people and their environment
- Enhance practical problem solving and team work skills
- Promote a positive and knowledgeable response towards personal health and well-being
Our location enables us have to have plenty of access to fresh air and the natural world. As well as our own secure garden, we are a hop, skip and crocodile walk to our nature space in the allotment. We love to have fun more than anything – getting dirty, digging, running, exploring, and climbing. The changing seasons, daily weather and local wildlife all come under scrutiny during our nature walks and what we discover can often be tied back into our curriculum goals for literacy and numeracy.
Manager Natasha Hamer commented “Our ethos of open-ended, discovery-based play for children means we can give every child the opportunity to learn through encouragement, creativity and exploration. Staff with specialised skills, techniques and materials are dedicated to taking the children on the next step on their learning journey by supporting their naturally inquisitive play.”