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The Value of Outdoor Play

Posted: Wednesday 1st April 2015 by OutdoorLearning

Where on earth would you find 120 grown-ups dancing for worms, waving streamers made from sticks they had found, playing with water or weaving with leaves?

At a workshop led by Surrey Wildlife Trust’s Education and Outdoor Learning teams!

We were delighted to be asked by Surrey County Council to help support their Home Based Childcarers to consider ways in which they might be able to make use of the exciting resources that the outside world has to offer.

Natural environments in particular offer an abundance of mysterious objects, ready and waiting to be part of a child’s learning and development experiences; there is space to move and children have a licence to get muddy while exploring and becoming familiar with their own neighbourhood, something that today’s limited childhood roaming distances make virtually impossible.

Our Forest School Co-Ordinator Neil Jameson presented the evidence that outdoor learning is a vital part of child development to the delegates, and groups discussed the value of outdoor play, barriers to implementing it, and ways to overcome perceived challenges.

In SWT’s true hands-on fashion delegates took part in workshops outside, joyfully doing everything from making paint with mud and leaves, to finding out where the fairies had made their home in the woods and discovering how even young babies use the outdoors to expand their horizons.

We think we achieved our aims, as feedback from the event included; ‘I really got some lovely ideas for the outside and ways to further develop my outside area. This is how you get the best from the children – by being inspirational.

We have an ongoing programme of INSET and CPD courses for teachers and childcarers as part of our Adult Learning programme, and schools/nurseries can book INSET sessions with our Outdoor Learning Team.

Find out more about learning with the Trust >>

Susan Edwards

People and Wildlife Manager

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