Category

recycling

Playing outdoors

Outdoor play is an essential part of any child’s development

By | Education, environment, fun for children, Green, play, Playing, recycling, Sprintime, Uncategorized
by Laura Gifford
Little Deers Preschool

The rising trend of Forest Schools around the country displays just how important outdoor play and learning is. In a world of computer games and social media, outdoor play for children is easily overlooked or dismissed as something that was done ‘back in the day’.

It’s important now more than ever that children have exposure to nature and the outdoor world. If the recent pandemic has taught us anything it’s that family time is precious and nature can still be enjoyed when other indoor pursuits can’t. In recent months, a lot of families have reconnected with the outdoor world enjoying leisurely walks in their local parks or forests.

Studies have consistently shown that playing in an outdoor environment reduces stress while increasing vitamin D levels, promoting social skills, and even increasing attention spans.

A lot more parents these days are choosing Forest Schools and outdoor settings for their child’s early education than ever before. In the UK alone there are over 45 registered Forest Schools and in Sussex over 10 forest style preschools. The benefits of outdoor play are endless.
Children are stimulated by the outdoors and typically experience, over time, an increase in their self-belief, confidence, learning capacity, enthusiasm, communication and problem-solving skills and emotional wellbeing.

In an outdoor learning setting, children are physically and mentally more active and generally lead healthier lifestyles. Another recent study showed that outdoor play significantly reduced the symptoms of ADHD, a condition that now affects 11% of all school children. On top of this, playing outdoors promotes self-confidence, fine motor skills, and balance. It promotes self-reliance, increases flexibility, and improves overall co-ordination.

When it comes to toddlers and preschoolers, being outside is an exciting sensory experience. Babies will enjoy the exciting visuals on offer as you take them for a walk outdoors. Toddlers love the chance to explore different spaces and touch natural objects – leaves, pinecones and puddles included.

Playing outside is really important as it gives your little one the chance to look around and learn. While you’re having fun as a family, taking your children outdoors and supporting their play is also helping your development as well as theirs – the whole family benefits from being outside.

Another benefit of outdoor play is that your child learns to appreciate and respect the environment around them. Teaching your child, the importance of taking care of the environment, placing rubbish in the bin, ensuring they look after plants and animals they encounter, is hugely beneficial to them.

In the US, Forest Kindergarten or Nature School is quite common and often referred to as a ‘classroom without walls’ where young children spend their time outdoors in nature creating toys with found objects and experiencing little adventures with their imaginations.

In Germany, Waldkindergraten (forest kindergarten) is also common. And lately, in America, the popularity of ‘out of the classroom and into the woods’ preschools and kindergartens is growing as more parents are starting to feel that academics and tests have become the focus rather than non-cognitive, social emotional development and personal growth.

Starting your child’s education years in a setting which will give them opportunities to grow in such a positive way seems like a sensible choice to make.

Little Deers is a forest style preschool in the village of Nutley, East Sussex and have been running for over 30 years, providing an exciting and stimulating environment for children surrounded by the beautiful Ashdown Forest. www.nutleypreschool.org.uk

Sources:
www.childdevelopmentinfo.com/parenting/the-benefits-of-outdoor-play-for-preschoolers/#gs.d326o8
www.forestschooltraining.co.uk/forest-school/the-benefits/
www.nct.org.uk/baby-toddler/games-and-play/benefits-outdoor-play-for-children
www.mamookids.com/blogs/journal/the-ultimate-guide-to-forest-nature-schools-in-the-us

Reduce Reuse Recycle

By | Education, family, Food & Eating, Health, recycling

Recycling at home

The ‘war on waste’ has been at the forefront of discussion around recycling recently, in the classroom and at home. These ideas can be challenging for pupils, however, by introducing them gradually using engaging and challenging resources, children can become prepared for the world they will inherit.
PlanBee, a leading online provider of primary school resources, has recently announced the launch of its new ESR (Education for Social Responsibility) packs. As the company celebrates these fantastic social responsibility resources, Oli Ryan, former teacher and resource creator at PlanBee, reveals his tips for encouraging children’s involvement in recycling at home.

Waste reduction tips:
Knowing how things are made, and the effort and resources that go into products we use, is central to understanding the importance of reducing wasteful or excessive use of everyday items.

Here are some tips for getting children to help reduce waste at home:
1. Go hunting for information books in the library, or for fun videos online, which show how everyday household products and items are manufactured.
2. Show children how little toothpaste, shower gel or toilet roll they actually need when they use it. You’ll reduce waste and save money!
3. Encourage friendly sibling competition. Ask “Who can make X last the longest?” Consider asking this about consumable items like shampoo, felt-tipped pens or colouring books. You can incentivise little challenges like these with simple rewards such as choosing a board game to play together, or a book to read at bedtime.

Tips on how to reuse:
Finding creative ways to reuse old materials is a great way to encourage your children’s creativity and natural curiosity.

Here are three ideas to try at home:
1. Keep a box of cellophane, cardboard and plastic packaging for children to use for art projects.
2. Plastic packaging in particular is great for green-fingered children. Virtually any container can be used as a plant pot or a watering can.
3. Think outside the box! Set challenges to keep kids preoccupied on rainy days or during school holidays – can they make a bird feeder using only scrap materials? Old packaging is great for 3D model making, which can assist your children when starting a project from scratch. Popular ideas from the classroom include building model robots, bridges or entire cityscapes using old boxes and bottles.

Simple recycling tips:
When it comes to recycling at home, children can be your best friends. We’ve all been guilty at times of throwing something away that could have been recycled, but once children know the benefits of recycling, they’ll often be more than happy to help.

Check out our top tips below:
1. Recycling is, essentially, fun – especially for children! There are little things nearly all children enjoy, like jumping on cardboard boxes to squash them down, or crushing aluminium cans with a can crusher – very satisfying!
2. Did you know that while plastic shampoo and shower gel bottles can be recycled, they have to be washed out first? Ask the children to do it – playing with squirty bottles and water is another simple pleasure most children will enjoy! Slightly older children will enjoy helping to recycle glass containers at the bottle bank: they love throwing bottles into the bank and hearing them smash!
3. Ask your children about recycling in all areas of their lives. Challenging them to consider what recycling is done in school, at home, and in other places they spend time, will encourage them to think holistically about reducing waste in every aspect of their lives.

Looking for more information and ideas on how to encourage education for social responsibility at home and in the classroom? Become a PlanBee member to gain access to an extensive range of KS1 and KS2 lesson resources.
www.planbee.com