Outdoor play for over 2 hrs

(27 Posts)
oinker Mon 11-Feb-13 20:45:20

My 3 year old is at nursery 3 hrs a day 5 days a week.
He loves it there which makes me really happy......BUT he tells me he's always playing outside in the garden. Is this acceptable? I'm more worried about his health rather than anything else. DS has had a cough, runny/blocked nose and chest infection since he started there 3 months ago........

He's quite new at the nursery. Whilst doing settling in (10 days) he played outside but also did lots of arts and crafts, home corner and building with blocks which he loves (he did).
During our cold snowy patch he came home frozen to the core. His cheeks were red and his legs were frozen and were so prickly and hurting him that i put him in a warm bath just to warm up...
I challenged the nursery and they basically said he was only outside for 10 minutes as this is what they'll allow in cold weather, children are then encouraged to go in for a while.
Along with another mum we have done our spying and have witnessed our kids out in the garden for nearly 2 hours. Both kids did disappear out of site for about 5 minutes in that time I assume to use the loo.
When I asked my 3 year old what they'd been doing during the day he said that he'd played outside with the sand. He told me the truth.... I had seen him do this.
Can anyone tell me what the protocol is with early years education. The nursery have open play areas. There is loads to do inside, their garden door is always open for kids to wander in and out as they please... sometimes without their coats.
Any advice....

seeker Mon 11-Feb-13 20:48:54

Better outside in the garden than in a hotbed of germs inside! Sound like he needs warmer clothes, to be honest. I assume he chose to be outside?

Level3at6months Mon 11-Feb-13 20:58:44

Outdoor play is something nurseries have to offer, and free access to the outdoor area is strongly encouraged. The nursery should be offering a wide range of activities outdoors which complement those on offer indoors so that children who prefer to work outdoors can achieve similar outcomes in their learning as they would working indoors. If sounds like your DS prefers to be outside, so make sure he is properly dressed for the weather, and if you are worried that he isn't yet able to get himself adequately kitted out for the cold/wet then have a word with his key worker who will then know to make sure he's given a bit of extra support getting himself ready.

Mogandme Mon 11-Feb-13 21:01:26

The early years curriculums main principles are child led and the outside is as educational/enjoyable as the inside.

So children will have the same learning opportunities outside and be encouraged to choose their own activities etc.

TBH if you know if hes going out 2 hours a day why are you not sending him in, in weather appropriate outfits (thermals/warm jumper etc) if you're worried about coughs/colds

Spookey80 Mon 11-Feb-13 21:09:04

I Definately agree with the responses above,,,but I too would think is 2 hours really necessary in winter? ...but then I suppose I do take the kids out and sometimes in the winter we might be out for a walk for 2 hours..so prob ok. But I still feel its a bit much in this weather..I bet each nursery worker is not out there for 2 hours, I bet they swap.
I think I would just speak to his key worker and express your concerns. He is quite young to be able to know when he's so cold,, and prob needs to come in ifykwim.

Mogandme Mon 11-Feb-13 21:30:21

I am a nanny - when we had snow the other week we were out for 3 hours in the snow then inside for 40 minutes then back out for a further 2 hours.

We were wrapped up and having fun; much better than being cooped up in the warm house being bored.

oinker Mon 11-Feb-13 21:39:20

Thanks for your messages. I appreciate the comments. I just really wasn't sure of acceptable length of outdoor play etc...
I have been practicing having him wear thermals etc but he hasn't quite mastered getting everything down in time for his last minute dashes to the loo smile. He even insists on taking his jacket and fleece off first. He's only recently agreed to wear the thermals to nursery. We've been having a few accidents.
We will just have to persevere.
Roll on summer!!!!grin

Level3at6months Mon 11-Feb-13 23:50:57

Roll on summer indeed! Our staff rota has us outside for a fortnight block so we most certainly are out as long, and longer than most children. I was lucky enough to be out in the last very snowy spell. After two weeks of it, even the thermals weren't working sad

SamSmalaidh Mon 11-Feb-13 23:59:38

Did you really spend 2 hours just watching your DS in the nursery garden?

oinker Tue 12-Feb-13 09:12:57

No not me alone. Did it with another mum. Far to cold to be sitting there for 2 hrs.
Other mum cheated a bit. She actually went in to the nursery as she knows staff in there and watched from within.
I on the other hand froze my titties off in the cold! confused

momb Tue 12-Feb-13 09:17:52

He clearly likes being outside so buy him outdoor clothes: we are outside a lot and mine have 'wools' (top and long johns) for under their clothes, warm lined coats and waterproof padded gloves, hats, fleece lined boots etc.
You are right in that spending ages outside will not be helping him get over the 'new to nursery' viruses, unless he is dressed appropriately.

oinker Tue 12-Feb-13 09:49:13

Thanks for all the fashion advice.
I am very aware of what DS should be wearing. We ski as a family therefore appreciate cold weather gear and have plenty of it too. wink
I was merely enquiring as to the amount of time which is acceptable. At his previous nursery they had allotted times for outside play.
He's at a new nursery school ( Pre school) now and it's just the amount of time spent outside is what I was querying.
Not his attire. But thank-you anyway.

SamSmalaidh Tue 12-Feb-13 09:51:53

Allotted time for outdoor play is fairly outdated/poor practice.
Children should have free access to the outdoors, and will come in themselves if they are too cold or uncomfortable. Being outside isn't bad or dangerous for them.

momb Tue 12-Feb-13 09:58:53

Sorry, didn't mean to offend....just presumed that as he came home 'frozen to the core' that perhaps he wasn't wearing the right clothes for the weather.
To answer your question: two hours is entirely appropriate for them to be outside if dressed well, however your son is very young to be deciding for himself when he is cold and therefore the staff should be keeping a better eye on him.

Kyrptonite Tue 12-Feb-13 10:03:21

They're supposed to have equal indoor and outside play time. We have free access to outside and some spend all day out there and others flit in and out.

Kyrptonite Tue 12-Feb-13 10:04:06

And we have an outside rota so whoever is outside spends all day out there freezing their tits off

oinker Tue 12-Feb-13 10:07:28

Wasn't offended.... I just wanted opinions on outside play.
I'm going to speak to nursery manager as i have spoken to the key worker who said she'd deal with it but hasn't. sad

Sirzy Tue 12-Feb-13 10:09:17

Surely when you go skiing he is outside for more than 2 hours and in much colder weather.

Outdoor play is good for children

ouryve Tue 12-Feb-13 10:14:02

Starting nursery is always a cue for lots of coughs and colds. There's a whole new ecosystem to germs to become immune to. Being couped up indoors most definitely wouldn't prevent that and would probably add in lots of tummy bugs from all those sweaty, dirty hands.

Katnisscupcake Tue 12-Feb-13 10:19:21

I think it sounds marvellous!! grin

At DD's school they are inside most of the time and if it's cold/wet they don't go out at all sad. But then everything else about the pre-school outweighs that...

In regards the illnesses, if he's only just started nursery then his immune system will just be properly building up and all the illnesses he gets now will help. I remember when DD started pre-school, she got two tummy bugs in the first two weeks and (touch wood...), nothing much since apart from the odd cold/cough.

Honestly he will be loving being outside but it sounds like he has the choice to go in if he wants to. I don't cope with cold very well but I've noticed that DD barely notices it if she's outside having fun at the weekends.

As others have said, dress him up nice and warm and he'll master the stripping for toilet dashes in no time! smile

EssieW Tue 12-Feb-13 10:20:18

I'd love it if my DD was outside for that amount of time at preschool.
My DS nursery in London used to spend a long time outside - including in snow (most of afternoon) and lots of sports in summer. It was great for him.

A padded coat/down jacket type thing sounds as though it could be useful!

oinker Tue 12-Feb-13 10:26:52

We generally do Europe. It's cold but the sun shines a lot.

GladbagsGold Tue 12-Feb-13 10:33:24

I think its great. My son is an outdoor boy - he loved his nursery as it was just like yours sounded. Enjoy it while they have the freedom to roam, before school, and lessons, and carpet time, etc etc.

Though I'd def mention it to the staff so they can prompt him to use the loo before its a mad dash.

sanam2010 Thu 14-Feb-13 07:53:59

I wish my DD was at your DS's nursery! Her day is from 8am to 6pm and they go out 10min max, usually they just don't as I don't think they want to bother dressing the children. I would LOVE it if they spent 2h or more outside every day and am sure it would be very healthy. The unhealthiest thing is being locked inside with 10-20 children in a stuffy room for hours. That's how they catch colds.

seeker Thu 14-Feb-13 10:08:46

Sanam- your dd's nursery will fail it's next OFsTED. Be prepared.

SamSmalaidh Thu 14-Feb-13 10:36:14

No they won't - next Ofsted inspection they'll have the doors open all day and one member of staff dedicated to helping children get their hats/coats/wellies on and off.

I wouldn't find 10 minutes or less a day acceptable though - you are the customer, complain!

sanam2010 Thu 14-Feb-13 16:03:49

actually seeker, they just had an Ofsted inspection and were rated good across all areas! (as Samsmalaidh guessed). They do "outdoor" play but in their indoor hall, not actually outdoors in terms of outside. I think they only need to leave the room according to Ofsted, not the building?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now