Enjoying the great outdoors
Kids benefit from change of scene
A new initiative in Stirling nurseries is improving the health and wellbeing of children and bringing communities together.
Since August last year, nurseries across the area have been using their outdoor environment.
Children are benefiting from more time playing and learning outside, with some growing and selling vegetables, creating ‘bug hotels’ and even toasting marshmallows on campfires.
For six months each nursery has been implementing ‘loose parts play’ into their curriculum .
This can include natural resources like straw, mud and pine cones; planks and other building materials; scrap such as old tyres, and other random objects.
Organisers claim the materials offer “limitless possibilities” for play and learning, encouraging children to use their imagination and building their resilience.
Balfron Nursery senior teacher Samantha Hobkirk, said: “We’ve been developing a ‘Fairy Garden’ with the construction students at Forth Valley College and are busy working in partnership with Incredible Edible Balfron.
“Last year local community groups and parents came together to build several new raised flower beds for the nursery polytunnel, and the children have since grown a range of fruit and vegetables such as broccoli, strawberries and pumpkins.
“The children have been involved throughout the entire process - from planting the seed, to harvesting and cooking – and donated their homegrown tomato soup to Incredible Edible’s local harvest festival.”
Education development officer Carolyn Love said: “Stirling Council are ahead of the game when it comes to outdoor health and wellbeing in early years settings.
“Stirling is the home of the Daily Mile, which many of our schools and nurseries implement, and we are dedicated to providing high quality outdoor learning experiences.
“Our nurseries have proven that access to the outdoors isn’t dependant on postcode, as both rural and urban facilities have created their own outdoor learning areas.
“By engaging businesses and families in their projects, our nursery staff are involving entire communities in children’s learning, which has empowered children to develop their resilience and problem solving skills.”
Out of doors Children at play at Balfron Nursery