AN Aberdeen pre-school nursery has strengthened its commitment to Education Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence guidelines by investing in new facilities to provide outdoor learning for its youngsters.
Clockwork Pre-School Nursery, which is based in Altens, provides childcare for youngsters from nought to five, recently invested £250,000 in equipment to facilitate additional outdoor play at its premises.
The nursery is playing an important role in helping Scotland to become one of only a handful of countries which now explicitly includes the use of the outdoor environment as important for delivering its educational curriculum.
Says a spokesperson: “Scotland has a distinguished history and international reputation recognised by UNESCO and others for sustainable development education, global citizenship and outdoor learning, which are firmly embedded within Curriculum for Excellence.
“Education Scotland’s early learning Curriculum for Excellence includes learning for sustainability, where teachers and childcare professionals are encouraged to promote global citizenship, outdoor learning and sustainable development educational activities.”
Childcare director, Jill Clark, and her team at Clockwork Pre-School Nursery, have a strong philosophy for creating as much outdoor learning as possible from playing in the nursery’s garden areas to daily walks along to the pre-schoolers’ allotment.
Ms Clark said: “It is well known that children benefit from being outdoors, and they love it. The children in our care go outside twice a day, no matter what the weather, and they never complain.
“We provide our bright red outdoor weather suits for pre-schoolers on their walks and the children are therefore warm and keep clean and dry. In our newly expanded garden, the children can play and explore.
“We have a variety of objects and toys, tyres and huge balls, as well as trikes and bikes for the little ones to discover and have fun.
“We have our own on site cook, and place heavy emphasis on healthy food, and the children recently made soup from vegetables grown in their allotment.
Ms Clark added: “The Curriculum for Excellence through outdoor learning guidance offers opportunities for children to enjoy first-hand experience outdoors, and at Clockwork we are delighted that we can offer extensive outdoor space to meet those objectives.
“The core values of the Curriculum for Excellence include challenge, enjoyment, and an adventurous approach to learning and that underpins our ethos.
“It’s not just about taking a walk in the park, it’s about getting down on your hands and knees and taking a look at our natural environment.
“We grow vegetables and we eat them! Unstructured play is also encouraged, as it can boost problem solving skills, self discipline and self-esteem.”
Jill added: “Children need the freedom to play, it is a necessity not a luxury. There is growing evidence that spending time outside enjoying free play is beneficial for the physical and mental health of our young people – and it makes them smile!”
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