Supporting outdoor play across Scotland

Daycare services which encourage outdoor play are delivering better outcomes for children, the Care Inspectorate has said.

The findings were revealed as Scotland’s Minister for Children and Young People, Aileen Campbell, helped launch a new Care Inspectorate resource which aims to support all daycare services across the country deliver more outdoor play to youngsters.

myworldoutdoorsThere are currently 18 daycare of children services across Scotland which deliver all their care in the great outdoors, regardless of the Scottish weather.

Launching the resource, My World Outdoors, the minister met children at Woodland Outdoor Kindergarten in Glasgow, a nursery which provides all of its services to children outdoors.

Ms Campbell said: “The Scottish Government wants Scotland to be the best place to grow up and we know access to play has a positive impact on a child's early years. It helps their development and creates bonds between a child and their parents and carers.

“A huge part of promoting the importance of play is giving care services the confidence to provide good quality play opportunities for children. This will allow children to learn from trial and error, falling and getting up, and develops their coping strategies and resilience.

“I am delighted the Care Inspectorate is supporting care providers to create more outdoor play opportunities for children through the new 'My World Outdoors' resource. This will help staff encourage and nurture children's early learning.”

Karen Reid, Chief Executive of the Care Inspectorate said: “There is significant and growing interest in how children and young people access the outdoors to play, learn, develop and have fun.

“The Care Inspectorate regulates and inspects over 9,000 care services for children and young people, one or more of which almost everyone in Scotland attends before they start school, or during their school years. These services include childminders, nurseries, playgroups, out of school clubs, and other forms of daycare for children.

“There is a long historical tradition of outdoor experiences for children in Scotland, marked by innovation stretching back over two hundred years. There is significant evidence that playing outdoors is more than just fun: it can contribute positively to child development, child health, and early learning.

myworldoutdoors2“That is why, in this new resource, ‘My World Outdoors,’ we have grouped together examples of effective practice around the recognised wellbeing indictors, where children are safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible, and included. With creativity and effective leadership, all types of care services in every part of Scotland can use outdoor play to support each of these wellbeing indicators for children.”

1. The resource is available here: http://cinsp.in/1pqktzc

2. Outdoor-based services are popular with parents and provide a uniquely positive nurturing and learning experience for children. Generally these services are achieving higher grades than the national average for children’s daycare. This is illustrated by the relatively high rate of ‘Excellent’ grades awarded to outdoor-based services in the table below.

Grades of ‘Excellent’ by theme at 31 August 2015:

  Quality of Care and Support Quality of Environment Quality of Staffing Quality of Management and Leadership
% of outdoor-based services with a grade of 6 in this theme 17% 17% 17% 8%
% of children’s daycare services nationally with a grade of 6 in this theme 6% 3% 5% 4%