An outline of how the Outside space has developed
Every child deserves the right to an education that will stand them in good stead, to enable them to be the best they can be and to ensure they have the best outcomes possible. The environment in which the child receives this education should enable and enhance the possibilities for every child attending.
It has taken a long time for the pre-school to obtain an outside space, therefore the staff have had lots of general discussions over time about what would be nice to have in the area. During this time research was carried out to see what other settings had in their outside space, what worked and what they said should be changed. From these discussions a provisional list of activities and resources was drawn up. This list was quite varied and contained too many resources for the space we had, the staff chose 4 activities which the parents and children were going to choose from.
Questionnaires were sent out to all parents of children at the setting, these asked what the parents thought about the importance of outdoor play, how much time their children spent outdoors, where they played and the final question gave the parents a choice of 4 items of which they had to choose the 1 item they would like the setting to purchase. The choices were a large wooden sand pit, flower shaped chalk boards, stepping stones and a water play set containing guttering and stands. The majority of parents chose the sandpit, the wood was then purchased and the sandpit was built.
The children that attend the pre-school were all asked individually which item they would like, they were given the same 4 choices as the parents. The children were shown pictures of the 4 items and given a smiley face sticker to put on the one they wanted the most. The majority of the children chose the water play activity. The stands had to be purchased from an early years resource catalogue, the guttering was purchased from a local D.I.Y store as it was a cheaper option.
Staff suggested there should be some mark making in the outside area, to accommodate this a piece of Perspex was purchased which the children can paint on, the children also wash the Perspex clean so that they can re-paint again and again. After seeing how popular this activity was it was decided that another piece of Perspex would be purchased to give the children a larger space to paint.
As a result of the parent questionnaires it was suggested that a small area for growing plants would be a nice addition to the outside space as well as teaching the children about looking after living things. A local garage donated some tyres that were used as planters for the children to plant sunflower seeds and carrot seeds. The children were encouraged to water the plants regularly, which they did with pride.
A parent of one of the children attending the pre-school donated a sum of money, it was decided that to enhance the outside space it should be used to buy a play house. The parent was extremely happy with the purchase as were the children.
The equipment that has been chosen has been carefully selected to ensure as many areas of learning can be covered with the fewest activities, which has left the outdoor space feeling well equipped but not cluttered, giving the children room to move around the area freely without too many obstacles. Outdoor play is vital for all children to experience, it adds another dimension to their learning.
This development is an ongoing process which will continue to change and develop further, recommendations for further development include chalk boards, more planting, musical instruments, wind chimes or ribbons and some form of shade to protect the children in the summer months.
The Pre-school would like to sincerely thank all of the participants that have contributed to this Development Project. This project would not have been as successful if the participants had not been fully cooperative in completing the questionnaires given to them. We would like to express our gratitude to the Parents / Carers of the children of the setting, their opinions were extremely helpful in deciding what the outside space should incorporate for the best outcomes of their children My biggest thanks must go to the children of the setting, without them this project would not have been worthwhile, they are the reason that the setting continues to try and provide the best setting for them to develop to their full potential.