Outdoor Nursery?

(29 Posts)
GirlsWhoWearGlasses Mon 05-May-14 07:42:37

We're considering sending our DD to an outdoor nursery for a day a week once she's 3.

Has anyone else done this? Have they been happy with the experience? And was it at all unsettling to be at two different nurseries (the other days would be afternoon only)?

NoGoodAtHousework Mon 05-May-14 07:51:46

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by an outdoor nursery but my son went to a nursery before we moved that had a large outdoor area (partially covered) and the kids were outside come rain or shine. He loved it and so did all the others. I'm never going to find such an awesome place for him hmm

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Mon 05-May-14 12:23:53

Thanks. I mean a forest nursery. They are outside all day in the woods.

Aboyandabunny Mon 05-May-14 12:57:06

Would you enjoy spending a day in the woods if it was windy, raining or snowing and icy?
Is there a contingency for days like this?

puddock Mon 05-May-14 13:05:15

There's a Forest pre-school near us which alternates forest sessions with a village hall setting (which tackles the extreme weather problem, they relocate if it's e.g. dangerously icy). Some of DS2's friends go there and the weather doesn't seem to be an issue with proper clothing.
Can you take your DD for a trial day and see how she likes it?

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Mon 05-May-14 13:56:15

Thanks to those who've responded. They offer trial days and we would take that up, but I'm pretty sure she'd love it as she's happiest outdoors.

They have a hall for days when the conditions are dangerous, but otherwise they just dress appropriately.

I'm more wondering how the curriculum is covered and more generally about the educational benefits.

stargirl1701 Mon 05-May-14 14:02:55

We are hoping for a place here

Nature Kindergarten.cfm

for DD.

They have lots of resources to help explain how the curriculum is covered in an outdoor setting. It is now an entitlement for every child in Scotland to have regular, planned learning outdoors. I have been teaching (primary not nursery) with this ethos for 3 years now. It's just fantastic. You see another side of every child.

This is a government curricular doc

www.educationscotland.gov.uk/images/cfeoutdoorlearningfinal_tcm4-596061.pdf

Parent leaflet from government

www.educationscotland.gov.uk/images/FactfileOutdoorLearning_tcm4-660306.pdf

HSMMaCM Mon 05-May-14 16:16:17

Everything that can be taught indoors can be taught outdoors. Would you consider using that as your only setting if she likes it?

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Mon 05-May-14 19:27:20

Those are great links, thanks.

We're not against that being our only nursery, but the sessions, by their nature, are all day and we don't need or want her to be in nursery fulltime. The other days she'd just have her three council hours.

We're also not planning on sending her to English medium school, so need the specific nursery input for that reason.

Goodness, we sound more than a bit niche now!

Tambajam Mon 05-May-14 19:39:05

There is a forest pre-school opening not far from me. It's in an urban wood which is well known for its issues with aggressive dogs and dog fights. The brochure/ website makes it sound delightful but those of us who use the wood appreciate there will be issues.

I'm sure you would do this but spend half a day in their open space, playing and hanging out before you decide.

Sunshineloveslamp Mon 05-May-14 19:47:13

I would send ds in a heartbeat, its only one day a week and the things she learns will be invaluable.
I worked in a school where they would take the children into the local wood for an hour for forest school and the kids absolutely loved it! They were taught how to look for sticks for firewood, how to walk safely, safety around an open fire etc.
I think they do a lot of this in Finland and the parents see huge benefits

BackforGood Fri 09-May-14 15:11:07

I think there's a lot to be said for lots of access to open space, forests, etc., but I wouldn't want to be outside all day throughout the WInter - or, tbh, on a day like it was here 2 days ago, when the rain was coming sideways. My ds, in particular would have thrived in a Nursery that was able to take them out for 2 hours, a couple of times a day, but I think that is a very different scenario from being outside all day - even on the rainy days, and the freezing cold days and the foggy days and the dark days, without the respite of coming in to dry/thaw out.

I would if there was one nearby. We had a similar thing, one morning a week but sadly if wasn't viable. We went in winter and wore the correct clothing.

Some statistic says one day taught outdoors is equivalent to 9 weeks in a classroom.

slowcomputer Sun 11-May-14 19:46:55

Some statistic says one day taught outdoors is equivalent to 9 weeks in a classroom.

Sorry, that sounds like utter rubbish. Based on what study? Looking at what benefits?

Did you know that 87.5% of statistics are made up*







* including that one smile

nulgirl Sun 11-May-14 19:56:00

My ds went to one and absolutely adored it. He learnt loads about nature, plants, animals etc and had so much fun. He came home every time exhausted and filthy with that healthy glow from being outside. What I liked about his nursery was that there was a 50:50 balance of male/ female staff which I liked as his other nursery was exclusively female staff.

They probably don't suit all children though so a trial day is a good idea.

jasminelavender Mon 12-May-14 21:39:49

I run forest sessions at my preschool. All the children benefit and surprisingly it particularly benefits the quiet, unassuming girls who you would least expect to love it!
The joy of watching a 3 year old climb a few low branches for the first time or pick blackberries and mix them with a stick to make their own paint is priceless and very rewarding.
Sessions include tree climbing, den building, collecting natural resources and using them as you would any other in a classroom, fire lighting, pond dipping, weaving, whittling, lashing and so many other things I cant fit in.
The learning experiences outside are far superior and the outdoor classroom is under estimated and under used. Children learn risk in a safe environment and their physical, social and communication skills improve quickly during their time with us.
Please remember once your 4 year old goes to school they become very limited in the time they can be outside and spend a lot of time sitting down. Make the most of any opportunities like these if you get them, you wont regret it.
Finally, as to being outside in bad weather, there is no such thing as bad weather - just inappropriate clothing. As long as children are warm in waterproofs and wellies and are kept moving then being outside is safe.
However, practitioners are obviously trained in making sure children are safe at all times and seeing that they are warm or protected from the sun is a huge part of this.

MummyPigsFatTummy Mon 19-May-14 15:00:23

DD's nursery has just started doing forest school sessions and she and almost all the other children love them - the mud slide appears to be a particular favourite. I gather there are one or two who don't enjoy it though so it maybe a personality thing. It sounds like your daughter would love it. Admittedly, their sessions are just a couple of hours a week, however, so I guess it is a bit different.

I would have thought that by 3, two different nurseries in a week shouldn't cause too much of a problem. A number of DD's friends do a couple of days at her nursery and one at a pre-school elsewhere, in some cases one attached to the school they will be attending. Admittedly, they are now 4 rather than 3 but I would have thought they are developed enough at 3 to cope with the change.

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Wed 21-May-14 20:12:54

Thanks everybody. Your comments are much appreciated. We've arranged a visit, so will see how it goes.

lolalotta Tue 27-May-14 12:05:31

My DD has attended an outdoor nursery since she was two, we started her off on two three hour sessions a week. Since she has turned three she has done two 9.00am-3.00pm sessions. Hand on my heart I can say she absolutely loves it. They only come indoors if the weather is so bad the children are unhappy, which doesn't appear to be often at all! They have to have lots of wet/cold weather gear and I have to send her in with lots of spare clothes too. They get up to so much stuff it's incredible, one winter they built an igloo, occasionally there will be a campfire which there snack will be prepared on, they go on bug hunts, are constantly building dens, there's a rope ladder swing/ tire swing, obstacle courses are built out if old crates/ lots of balance beans are built to help build confidence etc etc, the list goes on and on! I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to send my DD to an outdoor nursery and plan to send my next DD despite it not being very practical to organise around the school run. Do it, you won't look back! grin

lolalotta Tue 27-May-14 12:06:55

That was meant to say balance BEAMS! Oh and the mud kitchen it a favourite too and a giant sandpit! smile

JennyZ1 Thu 05-Jun-14 22:17:59

I have never heard of an outdoor nursery before. What are some of the things that are offered there?

PetiteRaleuse Thu 05-Jun-14 22:21:39

Watching. Am considering sending DD1 to one at least part time while her usual nursery is closed for summer break. Being summer I like the idea of her being outside but in the shade.

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Sat 07-Jun-14 07:25:11

Jenny The children spend all day outside in the woods, so they climb trees, make mud pies, go on bug hunts. They do follow the curriculum, but using things they find outside, so writing with sticks in the mud, counting with acorns.

We enjoyed our visit and DD had a great time. Our only concern is whether there's the possibility it could get a bit Lord of the Flies. Child led is a good thing, but we would like to be sure that any unkindness to other children would be dealt with.

Mg11 Thu 26-Jun-14 16:42:35

I am quite interested in this topic too - there is a new one in North London and we had applied but chickened out. My concern is oddly less to do with the weather and do forth but security in an urban setting. Shame to be so paranoid but would a regular group of children not attract dodgy characters and how can you possibly ensure the kids are absolutely safe at all times? Thoughts?

insancerre Thu 26-Jun-14 17:35:53

Why would they not be safe?
There really aren't people prowling around ready to snatch any odd child.
Why would they attract dodgy characters and who are these dodgy people?
I really don't get it

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