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Outdoor Learning in Early Years

Feature Image courtesy of The Alice Smith School
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At Alice Smith Early Years, students have continual access to outdoor play, contributing significantly to limitless learning and personal development.

There are seven areas of learning within the Early Years, three of which are called Prime Areas. These are communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development. Here at Alice Smith Early Years, our commitment to learning through play is very much influenced by how important these prime areas are and the vital role that play has in developing each and every child.

Image Credit: Alice Smith

A key aspect of our childrens’ learning experience is outdoor learning. Our students have continual access to learning outdoors throughout their school day from Preschool through to Year 1. Our outdoor learning environment is far more than just another space. It contributes significantly to the feeling that learning is limitless and when combined with our amazing resources and staff, our children have the most incredible opportunities to imagine and create.

Image Credit: Alice Smith

Additionally our garden supports high quality interactions between children and teachers which is recognised as a key contributor to early childhood development. This involves adults listening attentively to children as they speak, and allowing them time to think, process and respond. One of the most amazing learning spaces is our garden in Early Years. Here our children are thriving as so much of their learning is self directed.

Image Credit: Alice Smith

Children can build with our loose parts creating vehicles to take them to far away lands, they develop their interest and curiosity in the world around them through discovering insects, snails and other creatures amongst the plants and vegetation and they investigate the properties of materials through sand, water and mud kitchen play.

In the garden, we have reopened a newly refurbished treehouse with a pulley system and slide, adding another dimension to an already amazing learning space. Our treehouse is allowing children to feel like they are in their own jungle far from school and is provoking all kinds of imaginary play.

As they interact with one another; collaborating, negotiating and co-creating, we can see how much they are developing. 

Professor Helen Street describes flourishing as the interplay between our best individual selves and our best environment and we are seeing this currently within our Early Years children who have made the most amazing start.

Discover more at The Alice Smith School.

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