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Effective outdoor environments

Being outdoors has a positive impact on children’s sense of wellbeing and helps all aspects of children’s development. It offers opportunities for doing things in different ways and on different scales from being indoors and gives children first-hand contact with weather, seasons and the natural world.

Outdoor environments offer children freedom to explore, use their senses, and to be physically active and exuberant (Practice into Principle cards, EYFS 2008).

Best practice

  • Understand that some children may need extra support to express their feelings and come to terms with them.
  • Encourage children to help to plan the layout of the environment and to contribute to keeping it tidy.
  • Ensure that children have opportunities to be outside on a daily basis all year round.
  • Help children to understand how to behave outdoors and inside by talking about personal safety, risks and the safety of others.
  • Create an outdoor environment that is reassuring and comforting for all children, while providing interest through novelty from time to time.
  • Where possible link the indoor and outdoor environments so that children can move freely between them.

Relevant resources

The documents below all open in new windows apart from the external sites.