New Outdoor Area for Early Years
Hilden Grange is entering an exciting new phase in its development with the creation of an exciting Early Years Foundation Stage Outdoor Learning Area.
Work started on Monday 27th February and over the next few weeks the area between Nursery and Reception classes will be transformed into an exciting and fun learning environment. The outdoor learning environment is a rich, dynamic and natural space for learning and development in children of all ages. Its value as an essential learning resource has been recognised by many pieces of research, and more recently within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS):
Being outdoors has a positive impact on children's sense of well-being and helps all aspects of children's development.
Outdoor environments offer children the freedom to explore, use their senses, and be physically active and exuberant and enable the development of skills that can’t be developed within the classroom. Our new outdoor learning area has been meticulously designed to maximise the opportunities for play, exploration, discovery and investigation with a variety of different materials and environments. For example, contact with soil, sand, stones, mud and clay will allow children to gig, mix, build and sculpt, while larger rocks and stones are perfect for climbing. There will be garden areas where plants can be grown and cared for.
A water area, complete with an interactive waterwall, will delight children and provide endless learning opportunities as they explore puddles, make streams, investigate the pumps, waterwheels and containers and construct boats, rafts and dams.
Our new outdoor space will also be used to support imaginative role play, sing songs in and storytelling. Importantly, the outdoors can also provide opportunities for quiet contemplation and reflection either in solitude or with friends. Calm spaces that encourage children to be relaxed and thoughtful are important for wellbeing and for developing a sense of awe and wonder about the world. The outdoor environment is also vital to support children to develop healthy and active lifestyles. The outdoors allows for active play and whole body movement which is less practical within the indoor environment.
The new area should be completed in time for the start of next term. Our thanks to the HGA and the Alpha Plus Group for their support of this project.