All staff will carry out a outdoor risk assessment before children use the outdoor area to inspect all areas of garden to ensure there are no foreign objects present that would cause harm or injury to any children, staff or visitors; any such objects will be removed. Staff will inspect play equipment to ensure that it is safe for the children to play on. Staff will check that children cannot access any standing water. Boundary fencing and gates will be inspected to ensure that they are in good working condition and repair. The gate must be kept locked at all times to ensure children are kept safe when in the nursery garden. Regular head counts of children must be completed and recorded. When the sun is out or weather reports indicate children may be playing out with exposed skin sunscreen factor 25+ will be applied to all exposed skin 20 minutes after children go out to play and hats worn. Any problems will be reported to the manager who will take appropriate action.
Staff will encourage and support children to independently put on their all weather suit/waterproof coat and wellies before playing outside. All weather suits enables the children to have totally unrestricted play as the suits keep the children totally dry. We strongly recommend children have their own suits they must preferably wear these if they enable the same ability to stay dry. This enables the children to make full use of the water activities without play being stopped due to the child becoming too wet. Every child should have wellingtons, hat & suncream (weather appropriate) that remain at nursery if one of your key children doesn’t or they become too small please inform their parents so they can provide appropriate items.
The baby room staff should ensure babies are dressed suitably for accessing the baby garden and parents are dressing the children ready for accessing outdoors throughout the day that enables babies warmth and free movement whilst outdoors. Key persons should discuss this with parents if parents need more guidance.
Outdoor equipment will be inspected to ensure that all fittings, joints, surfaces are safe and sound. Safety surfaces will be inspected to ensure that they are in good repair.
The outside furnishings and fittings will be inspected for damage and wear and tear.
Any problems will be reported to the manager or deputy.
At Little Foxes we strive to encourage all children to have a healthy lifestyle, through the guidance from Ofsted and working in partnership with the heart foundation it has been recommended that children spend most of their time at nursery in the outdoor area. When the weather is dry the children will spend 80% of their day taking part in a mixture of adult led and child initiated activities. All staff must ensure that they are supporting children’s play and not standing around talking to other members of staff this is an important time to enhance children’s learning and take them on to their next stage of the Early Learning Goals. Children can learn so much when being outdoors in different kinds of weather therefore, all staff must take this opportunity to plan activities that they would not be able to complete when indoors.
On rainy days then the children will still access the garden but, they will be for short periods of time and in smaller groups. Staff are to ensure a group of children have access to the outdoor area by 9:30am & again at 1:30pm, groups of children should rotate during the session to ensure each child has the opportunity of outdoor play. Staff in each room should ensure that at least 1 group of children are outside until the serving of lunch. Pre-school should have their doors open by 9:30am and again at 1:30pm, 1 member of staff must be allocated to the outdoor area each session, this enables children to free flow from the room to the outdoor area, this should be displayed on your outdoor play matrix. However if it is raining in the morning the children will go out for short periods of time but, if it is not raining in the afternoon then the children will remain outside for the rest of the afternoon. Also if there is snow the children will go out doors for short periods of time until the snow has cleared. All these weather conditions staff must ensure extra care is taken with the children.
All staff must ensure that they come to nursery dressed to go out in all weathers as this is part of their job description and part of their daily routines when supporting children’s learning and interest throughout the day. All staff are expected to go outdoors with the children no matter what the weather may be therefore, dress accordingly. Staff may want to bring a spare uniform as in some cases may get wet and want to change.
During cold weather
Rooms that are able to maintain free flow access to the outdoor area must set their heating system to be off when the doors are open. Boilers are to be set to come on at 7am-9am and then again at 11am-1pm. This enables the room to be at the correct temperature when the children are having lunch. If all children are outside the door should be closed to maintain a suitable temperature within the room.
During warm weather:
During the summer months parents will be asked to provide sun cream (factor 25+) and a sun hat. Any children that do not have sun cream or a hat will not be allowed to play in the outdoor as there is a risk of harm to the child. All parents will be asked to provide their child with a sun cream to ensure that they have the correct sun cream applied to their skin.
Before going outside, all children should have sun protection cream applied, taking particular care with arms, and especially faces and backs of necks of all children regardless of skin type. All children must wear sun hats.
Babies’ equipment should be put in the shade and moved round as the sun moves. Babies’ should not be left asleep in direct sunlight.
Delivering Quality Outdoor Provision
Whilst outside, children should have access to a wide range of activities which reflect what has been planned on the provision planner. The outdoors should be set up to encompass all areas of learning and be supervised by staff to ensure greatest play value. Planned art activities can be carried out in the garden just as well as indoors. Take advantage of the soft surface and freedom and encourage children to join in games organised to develop their gross motor skills, e.g. ball games, hopping, skipping, balance skills such as pedalling bikes, “What’s the time Mr. Wolf?”, imaginary play etc.
A variety of activities should be provided in the room to enable children to come indoors as and when they choose encouraging free flow if premises permit free flow play. Staff must ensure the trolley or access of resources is well stocked, clearly labelled and accessible for the children that are outside. Staff should assess the day’s weather as when it is raining/snowing the trolley or access to equipment must remain under the canopy & weather smart resources be off loaded and set up.
During the day ensure the children have plenty of drinks, especially fresh water. As the children are outside it means children should be supervised more and not less to ensure their safety and well-being. Please offer the children a drink of fresh milk and provide cups throughout the morning and afternoon sessions. Take this opportunity to discuss health and the benefits of milk and calcium on the body.
The outdoor area must be set up according to provision planners by no later than 9:15am. Children should be provided with the following:
- Mark making opportunities
- Junk modelling
- Large climbing equipment
- Comfy area
- Den making opportunities
- Box Play (weather permitting)
- Cement tray set up
- Drinking station
- Water tray filled
- Sand tray open
- Malleable play
The outdoor area must be started to be tidied away by no later than 4pm by a member of staff from each room.