OUTDOOR LEARNING SPACES

We believe that children should have plentiful opportunities to actively construct their own knowledge and understanding of the world through the many different experiences they have. Finding out and exploring is all about the open-ended, hands-on experiences which arise from children’s innate curiosity.

Outdoor Learning Spaces

We believe that children should have plentiful opportunities to actively construct their own knowledge and understanding of the world through the many different experiences they have. Finding out and exploring is all about the open-ended, hands-on experiences which arise from children’s innate curiosity.

Outdoor play is known to improve concentration and perception of the living world around us. It develops character; it is believed that children who explore are more likely to be self-motivated and adventurous, helping them to learn to take risks. Outdoor play provides a great opportunity to exercise in an enjoyable, unstructured way. It strengthens the immune system and enhances muscle function.

We want the pupils of Huili Nursery Shanghai to have as much time outdoors as is possible in the city. When outdoors, pupils have access to an environment where they experience purposeful play and wonderful learning opportunities, alongside the freedom to create their own play without it being adult-led. We have considered how the outdoor space can be used to support the curriculum themes and how we can promote development in all areas of learning. The outdoor ambience we have created is one of being close to nature. We have limited the use of man-made materials to increase pupil’s awareness of the natural environment around them. We believe that children should learn to build with sticks, make pies from mud, grow food that they can eat, look closely at the world of minibeasts and other garden creatures and use the outdoors to link to stories, role play, science, music, art, design, maths and language.

GARDENING SPACES

Children are natural gardeners. They’re curious, like to learn by doing and love playing in the dirt. Working in a garden, a child can experience the satisfaction that comes from caring for something over time, while observing the cycle of life first-hand. Gardening gives children a chance to learn an important life skill, one that is often overlooked in many Early Years’ settings. Gardening is also a great way to teach environmental awareness by exploring the workings of natureIt will be a joy to see their green-fingers be at one with the environment.

MUSIC AND SOUND SPACES

Providing music and sound making equipment outdoors makes for a noisy time! The pupils are encouraged to experiment with their peers and use their surroundings to discover new sounds, create their own pieces and link the sounds to songs that are already known. Music spaces can be linked to areas in the curriculum and are particularly useful for storytelling support, expressive art and design but also science and understanding the world. For more information on music and sound, see indoor learning spaces.

IMAGINATION CREATION AND INVESTIGATION SPACES

At Huili Nursery Shanghai, we hold a desire to provide pupils with spaces that they make their own at any given time. Our outdoor spaces support the pupils by allowing indoor learning activities to be taken further to incorporate a wider context. Using the five senses, pupils are encouraged to experience hands-on, cognitive activities that stimulate an enquiring mind. Activities around counting, shape, sorting, grading, ordering, matching promote mathematical thinking skills. Talking, describing, naming and making stories encourage language. Discussion and stories around the topic and theme embed learning further and can be taken back in to the indoor learning spaces for reinforcement. For more on exploring and investigation, please see indoor learning spaces.

PHYSICAL PLAY SPACES

The outdoor physical play spaces have been designed to allow every child the chance to develop their gross motor skills, expend some energy and develop social skills to allow them to acknowledge the others in the space with and around them. Children need space to run and we are sensitive to this; they need the freedom to lead their own games, imaginative activities, and roam the grounds with a sense of freedom and security. Amongst the green spaces, we have a play area with adventure climbing frame, tricycle areas and an outdoor mud kitchen.