Why do we go outside first thing? Historically it all started 7 years ago when I had a class of 19 boys & 7 girls, not to stereotype but it was a very noisy, active class. One morning about 2 weeks in one little boy was having a hard time leaving his mum, English was not his first language & we had noticed he was much happier outside on the bikes. So I suggested to the main nursery assistant that we open the doors & go outside, he ran out & after about 5 minutes let his mum go home. We decided to try going outside first for a week to see if it made parting from parents/carers any easier. Guess what? Of course it did, there are a lot more 'distractions' outside, children want to run off to the slide, go on a bike, play with the water etc. But we have also found that when inside the classroom you have 1 or 2 parents staying around it is too many adults in the room & you really notice them whereas outside an extra adult is absorbed into the space & makes very little difference. It can be daunting for any child to have lots of adults standing around in the classroom but outside sometimes (at settling in time) we could have up to 6 extra adults & it makes little or no impact.
A parent can withdraw to some of the many seating areas in the playground & allow their child to venture off to explore the area much easier than they can inside.
|The bikes are always a draw & an opportunity to part easily from a parent.|
|Some children will stand for a while taking all the choices in before venturing off to play outside.|
Of course, best of all from a staff point of view - the children come into school with their coats already on! Only someone who has spent ages with 26-27 3-4 year olds putting on coats to go outside can know how great this aspect of the day is!! If we are going outside again after lunch, it is usually a more gradual event than the whole class getting ready at the same time, with 5-6 children at a time getting coats on & then heading outside.
However, the best aspect of this part of our routine is that when we do come inside, the children are much more ready for more settled play. This is the part that most visitors notice & comment on & it's not really any surprise that is the children have been outside for at least 60 minutes where they have been able to run, climb and shout that they are then more able to sit at quieter play when they come inside.
|Having had the chance to run about engaged in more strenuous play outdoors, the children are 'ready' for more settled play when they come inside.|