This joint initiative by Active Essex Education and the Early Years team used Olympic Legacy funding and aimed to build on the inspiration and motivation of the London 2012Olympic and Paralympic Games to drive forward the standards of Teaching and Learning within Essex schools and early years settings.
The ‘Active Outdoors’ training provided a one day session in different locations around the county. It aimed to support practitioners to have fun and be physically active outdoors, to develop their knowledge and understanding regarding the value and benefits of outdoors for children, and the importance of physical development for healthy lifestyles. It looked at simple low cost outdoor and physical play experiences and promoted links across the EYFS curriculum. It was designed to support practitioners to feel positive about being outdoors, develop confidence in their own role as playful practitioner outdoors, including assessing risk, and planning next steps for children’s learning.
At the specific request of the Early Years team each six hour session was delivered entirely outdoors. The use of technology as a training tool was not possible and delivery was interactive and designed to keep attendees moving and comfortable in the prevailing weather conditions. The session focused on sharing key messages and research, playing games, reflecting on existing outdoor practice and identifying improvement priorities. It also included a strong focus on physical development as a prime area of learning and involved participants fun physical challenges built around the development matters statements for moving and handling within the EYFS(2012).
The session evaluations were overwhelming positive regarding the focus and content.
Practitioners were asked to identify a change that they would make as a result of the session and the following comments are a selection of their ideas.
As a result of today I will….
- return back to the setting enthusiastic and motivated to improve outdoor learning
- help organise outside area/resources to become more orderly and child accessible
- be able to manage risks confidently and not restrict the children from doing what they want to do
- be more adventurous with some of the outdoor play we do
- enhance children’s experiences
- find planning easier
- develop areas to allow babies to be safe yet learn
- plan a day to make zones in our own outdoor areas
- use more natural resources
- provide outdoor play in all weathers
- adapt my teaching approach
- adapt my interaction techniques
How will this impact on children….?
- positively! -freedom, well being, physical health, learn life skills –risk taking problem solving
- a lot more time outdoors
- improve physical development
- plan next steps for outside
- keep children interested
- make their outdoor experiences better and more enjoyable
- more time outside, more fun
- develop physical skills
- freedom to explore
- hopefully it will make the children more active and engaged in the outside environment
- extend their learning further allow children to work together
- keep them motivated and give them more experience on new activities
- make their outdoor experiences daily rather than every so often