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Staff standing outside for 2 hours a day in the name of outdoor provision...

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by inky, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. Collecting rainwater in containers, powderpaints in puddles then add glitter and washing up liquid, tissue paper. Shredded paper in water tray, they all make a mess but are great fun. Counting how many raindrops they can catch on their tongue. Who can make the biggest splash in the puddle only if they are wearing wellies, the list is endless. Just remember to keep a change of clothes in school.
  2. I doubt it you would need a risk assessment.
  3. Having worked in and talked with colleagues from other countries (North America/ Scandinavia/ Australia/ Africa) with weather a lot worse at times than ours. Being inside at break times isn't really an issue i.e. they are outside in all weathers and temperatures, cold or hot. I think because we never seem to know from one day to the next what the weather will be like we go for the easy option at the moment. The pupils from school I work at just don't see it as break time if you keep them inside at break regardless of the weather conditions!![​IMG]

  4. I don't think anybody objects to being outside for a fixed peiods at break time or speciific timetabled slots even if the weatehr is inclement.
    However in EY in UK the chidlren don't have breaks- it is encouraged that their access to outside is continuous provision and that the curriculum is taught or accessed by being outside and inside.
    Therefore in the best or worst case scenario, depending on your point of view, children are constantly flowing bewtween inside and out with very low staff to pupil ratios.
    This has organisational problems even in the best of weathers,
  5. Are you on good terms with your cleaner then? Unfortunately our space is mainly grass and keeping them off it is near
    impossible. I find that my class trapse mud all over the carpet after being outside (despite the fact that I bought a mat for the door!) and then I find my self grovelling to the cleaners about the state of it! Although I love the idea I think adding paint, glitter and tissue paper may tip the cleaners over the edge!! :s
  6. we 'clean' before the cleaner arrives..how daft does that sound. We try to brush up the worse of it before parents turn up.
  7. Hehe! I do feel terrible giving muddy children back to parents at the end of the day... it's always the same ones... and it's even worse when it's a monday!!!
  8. Thats why I bought wet suits, was sick of being told little johnny wasn't allowed outside incase he got muddy then having the poor kid crying all day because he wasn't allowed out. Now they can get as muddy as they want, we just stick them in the school washing machine on a friday and hang them up to dry all weekend.
  9. sadika

    sadika New commenter

    Please - info re: Which wet suits? and how much?
  10. Please no.....
    Please don't add washing to my list of chores!
    Hedda exits stage right screaming......
  11. Raindrops clothing www.raindrops.co.uk ALWAYS phone and ask for their trade prices which are much cheaper than the website suggests, e.g. £23 for a jacket and dungarees set. If you have pre-school children dungarees and jackets provide the most options all year round and allow children who have suitable jackets from home to wear them if they want. If your setting is skint, then buy just the dungarees to begin with as most children do come with a jacket even if it's not ideal. Mind you I've seen a little girl wear a fluffy pink jacket in a nature pre-school in Seattle on a wet day! Why Raindrops? The price is good. The gear is hard wearing and used by a lot of forest schools including the Secret Garden Outdoor Nursery in Fife where children are outside ALL year round in ALL weather and have yet to spend a day indoors. Next the clothing is soft and most children like the feel of it. Buy different colours for different sizes so it's easy to differentiate, e.g. 3-4yrs blue; 4-5yrs red, etc. Next all the clothing have reflective tabs which is useful on dark days when out and about. I don't get commission or anything else for recommending this company. I visited Sweden 15 months ago and based my analysis of outdoor clothing on the safety and warmth principles advised by the Swedish Civil Defense League which provides training to staff about taking children outside in cold weather.
  12. May2

    May2 Established commenter

    Well after going on a course we bought wet suits so they could go out in rain, snow and mud. They arrived just in time for the first lot of snow this term. We have 30 suits in ranging sizes from 3-4, 4-5 and 5-6 for our Foundation stage Nur.and Rec to share. We thought great, they can roll in snow whatever and Reception won't be in wet trousers for the rest of the day.
    However we just did not find them practical. They may be ok in warmer weather but the children (Rec.) just couldn't cope with getting them on over bulky coats and changing into boots as well. They started doing this for lunch times as well and it was just a nightmare. It took absolutely ages dressing them and then those ready couldn't go out yet as staff were inside helping others.
    They seem to have been banished to their box again. May be they are better for a small group who want to splash in puddles and don't need a coat underneath when it's a bit warmer.

    Surely we can't be the only school who have found they are not so wonderful as these course leaders make out?
  13. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    the first lot are coming back in before the last group of children are changed......
  14. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    We currently have a 3 year old whose mum sends her in a padded ski suit and she puts it on and takes it off completely unaided having been taught at home by mum then we have the 5 year old boy who can't put on his own coat (usually upside down if he even tries).
    Having said that we bought dungarees rather than all in one suits

  15. It may be worth visiting the resources section of my website www.creativestarlearning.co.uk I have 3 case studies about outdoor pre-schools in Sweden and the US that can be freely downloaded. There will be ideas for you about all sorts of practical outdoor matters. For example, all visitors and children either remove shoes/boots at the indoor entrance OR they ask everyone to put on little overslippers that fit over outdoor shoes. I do agree that the temperature changes between the indoor and outdoor area owing to inappropriate doors is a nuisance and a nonsense. I would say that this is a priority to get sorted in any setting when a maintenance or capital works budget or a kind PTA or funding stream allows. Until then, a make-do situation has to happen which means setting up a system where children can either open the door safely or an adult can do this. Sometimes this may not be possible and if questioned about this TELL the inspector or EY advisor or whoever else WHY. Next ensure children and adults are wearing suitable clothing for the outdoor area. Sometimes adults are less well-kitted out than children and the message this sends out to children about being outside is not good. In theory, as outdoor clothing is technical gear that is provided in other jobs, e.g. road workers, countryside rangers, etc. the school/LA should provide this. However in my experience this will be horrible and ill-fitting. So go and get kitted out in decent outdoor gear that's cheap and robust and you don't mind getting trashed, ie Gortex mountaineering jackets are really not needed unless you are working in the NW Highland of Scotland on a hillside nursery. Rohan clothing is expensive ,e.g. £60 for a pair of trousers but they have a great range to suit most figures and sizes and always have a sale dept on their website. Finally I notice that no-one is really mentioning WHY children should be outside in all weathers. Having visited eight different outdoor nurseries and schools in Sweden, Scotland and USA I have witnessed first hand the HUGE difference in children's health, physical skills, social skills and cognitive abilities compared with very good free-flow nurseries. This is backed up by substantial research which suggests the same thing too. Dress up warm and let the children learn and play outdoors. It makes a difference. Best wishes.
  16. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    My main issue with outdoors is staffing ratios rather than clothing
  17. Yes - you are absolutely correct. I've spent several days in a nursery recently where all-in-one suits were used and they do take more getting used to than dungarees or trousers and are less useful in other seasons and weather. Next check out whether pre-school clothing has velcro tabs or elastic at the ankles. I prefer elastic with a bit that loops under the children's boots so they don't ride up (as advocated by the Swedish Civil Defense League). Always check that the trousers or dungarees can be slipped off with welly boots on. Many brands have too narrow leg holes. If it's any reassurance, on my courses that I offer I always advise on the pitfalls of each type of outdoor gear.
  18. Can I ask, do you have a temperature limit? How cold is too cold? For example, ours is colder than -20C, we have to stay in. Warmer or on that temp, we have to go outside. Everyday, for breaks. I really don't know how I would integrate outdoor play in my curriculum... thinking of some of my older students, they would scatter as soon as we walked out the door!
    I'm in Canada, BTW.
  19. mac64

    mac64 New commenter

    I am a fan of outdoors but not of the idea of setting up learning areas or taking as many indoors activities outdoors for the sake of it ot the EY advisors etc. Just as I feel that free play (as in if you say they have a choice then butt out of their time unless invited) is valuable so is outdoors but we all have to be realistic. We can't all have safe access or safe resources no matter which grants are available or how good a PTA is. You can set up some indoor activities outside (water/sand, dressing up, cafe etc) but not everyone can leave them there. Every child matters but so do the staff that work with them. Lifting, pulling, shoving etc every day or several times a day is not always practical or even safe. It's really just like every thing else related to the current climate (not the weather!) - balance. I do EY supply now and on an average day each setting has at least two supply people there. Staffing is a real problem (permanent numbers) as well as ensuring a fair rotation of outside duties. Most places I work in have set 'break times' (something schools are criticised) for but this is the only safe and practical solution for these London settings. Even those with easy outdoor access have to consider the staffing issues. I've yet to come across a place which has floating staff to allow for this type of situation. My TA and I took turns outside or if the majority of children wanted to be outside then we all moved outside. This was in pm and we still had to finish the daily reading as well as accommodate other sessions with specialists. On average we spent two and half hours outside (excl. lunch break). Staffing was a problem. My TA was also first aider. Schools and other settings have to have enough staff for this really work fairly and safely but where does the funding come from?
  20. mac64

    mac64 New commenter

    But even the best clothing in the world still doesn't solve the staffing issue. At one time in schools (some time ago....) break time staff were rare but now almost schools have some sort of rota for staff which allows for lunch supervisors. For all the settings to have a safe and fair system which allows access for all, I think a similar approach has to be in place for EYs but it does rely on funding.

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