Outdoor activities boost children's learning

An adult and two children play in a gravel pit and fill up a saucepan.

As part of our early years recruitment campaign, we’re highlighting the benefits of outdoor learning.

Our campaign, ‘Make a change. Build a future.’, aims to inspire people to enter or return to the early years sector.

Sue Triscott, owner of Abacus Kindergarten in Colchester, is supporting the campaign. Sue’s keen to highlight how practitioners can make the most of outdoor learning.

She said: “At our setting, we encourage children to get outside every day. Especially when the weather’s good.

"It’s important to enable child-led play and give children the space to be creative. We offer a range of outdoor activities that some children may not get at home.”

The outdoor space at Abacus Kindergarten helps boost children’s learning and development. Sue added: “We teach children about nature cycles, so we help them to grow their own vegetables to have for a snack.

"Then, we guide them to use the peelings as compost and put them back in the soil in the autumn. We teach them that this will help feed the new plants for the following spring.”

For Sue, a large part of outdoor learning is encouraging children to discover things for themselves. Sue continued: “We want them to understand there’s no right or wrong way to play with something.

"Our practitioners could give children some shingle, a tablespoon, some spades, an old jug and a bucket. Their imagination will do the rest.

"We encourage children to take part in activities which will naturally lead to learning. We support them to discover things for themselves.

“Outdoor learning is all about exploration. We think about how children play and learn and use our outdoor space to compliment what we teach. We add to their experiences and broaden their opportunities.”

Sue also wants to show how rewarding a career in early years can be. She said: “We have great fun at work, which is really important. But it’s also about having meaning and feeling satisfied that you’ve had a positive impact on a family.

"Being with children changes your perception. It makes you reflect and you become a better human being. I feel it’s a worthwhile career.”

Find out more about a career in early years and childcare. Search for current early years vacancies.