The Essex Early Years Team were seeking to create outdoor play spaces within the participating settings that provided inspiration to others and would become beacons of good practice within the county and further afield. The Heading Outdoors project was originally developed by the Essex Early Years Team to encourage the new Neighbourhood Nurseries in Essex to work in a reflective way with their children and to help staff to understand the value of working in the outdoor environment. The project involved six Neighbourhood Nurseries, three working with the 3-5’s and three working with the 0-3’s.
Nursery managers were given input from the Essex Early Years Team on how to conduct research. Suggestions were given on aspects of their outdoor provision that they could review, for example how to manage freeflow access to outdoors for this age group. The settings involved in the research project met every two months to report progress and to identify the next steps. Four of the settings were identified for a focus on developing outdoors for 0-3’s and nominated for further support from Learning through Landscapes.
Gail worked with Essex Early Years Team and the four identified settings to provide detailed and focused support for the development and use of their own outdoor space. Each setting was supported through a process that sought to discover how the space was currently being used, and identify and overcome any perceived barriers to making fully effective use of outdoors with babies and toddlers. The four settings were supported to record both the process and their individual achievements to enable LTL and the Essex Early Years Team to disseminate the outcomes of the project.
Early Years practitioners working outdoors
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