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Why is outdoor play important in early years education?

Posted: 4th October 2023

Outdoor play is fundamental for children, in fostering their development and equipping them for their education. Both physical education and outdoor play contribute toward a substantial amount of the EYFS framework, which specifies the methods in which nursery providers must employ their practices.

At Taunton School, our Nursery offers a nurturing and secure environment where children can embark on their educational journey while also promoting their growth through outdoor play, activities, and an emphasis on the key principles outlined by the EYFS. In this article, we will explore the components of the EYFS Curriculum and its profound influence on your child’s development.

Our commitment at Taunton School is to provide an outstanding environment for education and development. To find out more feel free to contact us, or read our commitment to nursery pastoral and wellbeing.

What is the EYFS Curriculum?

The EYFS Curriculum lays out the key principles under-pinning learning and development for children aged 0-5 at any school or learning institution, with a focus on physical education through outdoor play and activities. But what actually is EYFS?

EYFS stands for “early years foundation stage” and is a mandatory framework for all early-years providers in England. As of 4th September 2023, there will be an updated framework in place.

Referring to legislation from the Childcare Act 2006, the EYFS is built upon four overarching principles. These are to:

  1. Acknowledge the uniqueness of every child, and establish resilience, competence, confidence, and self-assurance.
  2. Cultivate the courage and independence of children through positive relationships with peers and staff.
  3. Create an environment, supported by responsible adults, that caters to the individual interests and needs of each child.
  4. Recognise the importance of learning and development, taking into account the varying speeds that children with specific needs require.

By adhering to the EYFS guidance, providers like s Taunton School’s Nursery can ensure every single child obtains the proper care and attention in a secure environment, nurturing and preparing them for life and the next steps in their education.

1.       The Importance of Outdoor Education in the Early Years

Outdoor play and outdoor education are integral to a child’s early development. Each interaction introduces a new experience for them and by offering sufficient room and guidance to grow, make choices, and experience the world, it aids to develop skills and knowledge as they progress in life.

The early years are particularly crucial for sensory and physical development, so outdoor play is essential to nurturing these aspects.

Furthermore, these years are fundamental in fostering all-round development. The principles and learning areas of the EYFS allow for children to pursue happy, healthy, active lives. Physical development through outdoor play and education are split into three main areas:

2.       Core Strength & Co-ordination

The first focus for physical development is on core strength and co-ordination. Both formulate the foundations for a child’s movement, allowing them:

  • To hold their position and control their movement using their core strength.
  • The foundations on to develop Gross and Fine Motor Skills.
  • Control over the simultaneous movement of their body through advancement of their mind.

These attributes work cohesively, giving a child confidence through movement. As well as facilitating a child’s ability to communicate, learn languages, read, write, and correctly use small tools such as pencils and paintbrushes.

Outdoor play in a secure environment is beneficial in skill development and building physical fundamentals in children, granting them nature exploration and the opportunity to embrace surroundings in a safe way with support available.

Take a look at the activities offered for pupils at Taunton Nursery that support their growth. >

3.       Gross Motor Skills

Skills that use the whole body of the child are known as Gross Motor Skills. Development of these skills provoke:

  • Confidence, agility, and flexibility.
  • Muscle strength, risk assessment, and co-ordination.
  • Wellbeing and opportunities to develop their social skills through play.
  • Foundational skills for their Fine Motor Skills.

4.       Fine Motor Skills

Fine Motor Skills are the minute movements of the body that work with the brain and nervous system. The skills develop in areas like hands, fingers, lips, and eyes, helping with:

  • Eating, writing, and manipulating objects.
  • Getting dressed.
  • Independence throughout all areas of learning and development.

The performance of these skills are highly reliant on the other physical developments, so establishing a joint focus in educational approach is key to ensure  all-round growth. Safe outdoor play for children allows opportunities to socialise, be creative/imaginative, assess risks, and develop physically.

At Taunton School we have an abundance of outside space for our students, to play, learn and explore. For more information on our outstanding facilities attend an upcoming open day or book a tour with our admissions team.

At Taunton School, we are devoted to providing the finest levels of care, learning, and development for children in a safe environment with lots of opportunities to grow and experience the world, following all the steps of the EYFS framework to nurture children to their fullest potential.

If you’re interested in what we have to offer, get in touch or attend an upcoming open day.

Explore the way your child will experience a day at Taunton Nursery School. >

Categories: Blog Nursery Pre-Prep