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Outdoor space at nursery - how important?

(26 Posts)
teamseashore Thu 29-Oct-20 17:19:25

My husband and I have been looking at nurseries for my baby girl for when I go back to work. She will be a year old then.

We have viewed a local nursery which I like- with one hesitation. Most of its outdoor space is covered so when the children go outside they will not actually be experiencing the elements- whether that be rain, wind or sunshine. There is a small uncovered area where they would be properly “outside “.

This is putting me off a bit, although I don’t know if I’m being a bit silly because I like everything else about the nursery. There are other nurseries in the area with better outside space but they are a bit further away. - we’d have to drive to them, whereas the one with the covered outside space is only a 5 minute walk from our house.

My husband wants to go with the closest nursery as it will be much easier to manage drop offs and pick ups when we are both commuting- which we will be doing once the COVID situation has calmed down. The other nurseries would be about a 15 minute drive away, maybe a bit longer if traffic is bad.

Am I being pedantic? Just interested to get other people’s opinions on how important they think good outdoor space is and is it odd that it is mostly covered?


OP’s posts: |
OverTheRainbow88 Thu 29-Oct-20 17:24:52

Hmm tricky. My heart is saying the same as you with outdoor space, my head is saying go for a 5min walk rather than 15 min drive- especially if planning on more kids, much easier to put a baby in a sling/pram and walk down the road than a 30min Round trip

Shireslass Thu 29-Oct-20 17:25:15

I had this when I looked. A lovely nursery, great space but outside was disappointing. My daughter loves playing outside at nursery, comes home covered in mud!
I would say it is important.

TeddyIsaHe Thu 29-Oct-20 17:32:28

DD’s nursery has a small outdoor space (it’s a city center nursery) but they are in a large gardens, so they spend a large proportion of time out in groups.

Does the nursery do any trips with the children?

Tbh, you can take your child out in the rain and they can experience the elements that way. A nursery is more about caring teachers, good ethos etc. It wouldn’t put me off at all.

Apple40 Thu 29-Oct-20 19:42:57

You can look at it another way, they can get outside and not be soaked in the pouring rain, and be protected from the strong midday summer sun . would you really want your baby playing and getting soaking wet? Catching a cold , or getting a temperature. In the current climate this would mean exclusion and self isolation for 14 days for a temperature no matter what the course. They can still run round and have fun get messy with the mud kitchen etc. Personally I would love the fact they can still be outside in all weathers but still be kept dry, or be in the shade.

flowswest Thu 29-Oct-20 20:10:58

I'm not sure rain causes colds and temps 🤷‍♀️

Duckchick Thu 29-Oct-20 20:16:41

It would make me hesitate. How do the kids work off their physical energy? It's not an issue in a baby room but once they get to 2 ish, is the outdoor space they do have enough for them to be on bikes etc and run around? What do they do when it's hot, our nursery used to move all the kids outside into the wooded area?

SMaCM Thu 29-Oct-20 22:52:27

If the outdoor space is covered, it might mean they are able to be outside more than if it was open to the elements. It's hard to tell without seeing it, but think of how they would be able to use the space in the rain/cold.

GrumpyHoonMain Thu 29-Oct-20 22:55:26

You’ll be walking there so won’t the kids experience the element before and after nursery?

Quarterback11 Thu 29-Oct-20 22:55:45

I don't think they would have them plqying outside in the rain. And no need for sunscreen then if it's sunny. Has it sides as well as a roof? If there's no sides, they will still get the wind.

Quarterback11 Thu 29-Oct-20 22:56:00


burglarbettybaby Thu 29-Oct-20 23:01:07

I would go for the close one. Its covered but safe.

GrumpyHoonMain Thu 29-Oct-20 23:04:51


I don't think they would have them plqying outside in the rain. And no need for sunscreen then if it's sunny. Has it sides as well as a roof? If there's no sides, they will still get the wind.

Depends on the nursery. My son’s has a policy to take kids out in all the elements (within reason and provided they are sufficiently dressed).

Looneytune253 Thu 29-Oct-20 23:05:18

I think that kind of outdoor area is a benefit is it not? The children get to experience the outdoors in ALL weathers even when it's teaming down they can be outside all the time and playing and getting fresh air. Surely that's a MASSIVE benefit.

bubblebubblebubbletrouble Thu 29-Oct-20 23:18:25

I was worried about the small outside space at the nursery I chose. It turns out that small kids only need a small space....mine were totally fine.
On the other hand my niece & nephew went to this amazing outdoor nursery on a farm and spent so much time out in all weathers & it was also fab.
I would choose the close one if I was happy with everything else. Convenience is key - especially in evenings when they are tired and you all just want to get home.

Mysterian Fri 30-Oct-20 09:17:49

Covered space outside? Sounds like their smoking area.

I work in a nursery which has a big covered bit. It means that children can go out for around 4 hours every day. It's great to run in some space, and there's so much to do that you just can't do indoors.

But, there's "being outdoors" and "being outdoors in nature". There's no grass, no bugs, no trees, no mud, no hills. no plants. It's a very good resource, but not as fantastic as a proper natural garden.

And that last bit also applies to those nurseries who have made their gardens "more useable" by covering it in astroturf or rubber tarmac and having a few selected bushes in pots. It's an outdoor space, not a garden.

Tumbleweed101 Fri 30-Oct-20 09:29:09

Ours has a covered area and an uncovered area. It means we can still get outside in all weather and it’s actually more useful in really hot, sunny weather as the garden is south facing and we can still be out of the sun. It’s good for hanging misting hoses on too! Also useful if it wet and you don’t want the children to necessarily get completely soaked outside but can still do outside activities. With smaller babies it means they have a dry outdoor space to crawl.

Our uncovered area is large natural grass with a wild area so they get the best of both.

FlyNow Fri 30-Oct-20 09:30:51

I'd say it makes it even better for outdoor play, as they can go outside every day, rain or shine. When you say it's covered, are we talking a shade sail over some grass, or a concrete area enclosed on three sides?

JustAnotherOpinion21 Fri 30-Oct-20 09:35:17

If the outdoor space is covered it can be used more during rainy seasons. I'd be inclined to go with it for that. I've worked in a nursery with a field attached, but during harsh weather we weren't able to go out at all.

aSofaNearYou Fri 30-Oct-20 09:39:21

This wouldn't bother me at all tbh. My DDs nursery have a covered outdoor space but she still does things like explore textures, mud etc, they just orchestrate it. Going outside in the rain is pretty much the one thing we can do outside of nursery currently so I would consider the other things she gets from nursery far more valuable.

MichelleOR84 Mon 02-Nov-20 06:57:04

I would suggest the closer nursery . You can always switch at a later time but at that age I feel that convenience outweighs a better outdoor space .

I actually did the opposite of you and put my one year old in the “better” nursery further away and ended up switching later on in the year to a closer one. Not only was it so much easier for drop offs and pick ups, but oddly my DS loved it ( more)! I never got the impression he loved the first “better” nursery , no idea why !

OddBoots Mon 02-Nov-20 07:01:24

I would go for the closer one, it still has outside space even if not ideal and your child will be outside rather than in a car there and back. You can always change later if you want to.

TeethingBabyHelp Mon 02-Nov-20 07:45:01

This would put me off. My DS goes to a nursery that plays outside in big outdoor space in all weathers. If it's raining they put on puddle suits and wellies and if it's sunny it's hats, suncream and lots of water play.
I love him getting that outdoor time and playing in mud kitchen and splashing in puddles. They dig for worms and find plants and explore what they find and it's lovely.
In terms of the journey, a 15 min drive isn't bad. We drive about the same for our DS nursery rather than the closer ones as the outdoors was important for us and have never regretted it

HelloDulling Mon 02-Nov-20 08:01:06

5 min walk versus 15 min drive? Unless they boil up the naughty children and serve them for tea, this would decide it for me.

Fandabydosey Fri 06-Nov-20 18:37:47

I work in a setting where we are very rural. Today we went for a walk, the children identified birds and plants, older ones helped younger ones. For me I can't get enough of the outside environment. It is so rich in real life resources and real life learning experiences. My own children never attended a nursery but a small garden would have been a massive no for me

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