Free Flow Policy
At Little Rockets Childcare we strive to offer children the best possible learning environment, ensuring all children have continuous access to both the indoor and outdoor environment. The six areas of learning need to be planned for both indoors and outdoors. To do this effectively children need to be observed in both areas and their interests should be noted in their Learning Journeys and discussed at staff meetings.. This will ensure the activities planned are based around the children’s interests.
“Outdoor environments offer rich opportunities for child and adult initiated play and activities that can support young children’s development” (Garrick, 2009, p73)
There are 6 major ingredients which make up a stimulating and exciting outdoor environment. They are:
• Natural materials
• Growing and the living world
• Physical play and movement
• Imagination and creativity
Free flow is important as children thrive best in an environment that supports and promotes their active learning and development.
Young children require space both indoors and outdoors, where they can be active or quiet, and they can think, dream and watch others. The outdoor environment is a learning extension from the indoor environment. The two areas complement each other to provide children with one whole learning environment.
Children have continuous excess to both indoors and outdoors so children can choose activities and follow their interests. Children need opportunities to dig, climb, and run etc. all the things children cannot do inside. Many children find the outdoors a more engaging place then indoors and will choose to do most their learning outdoors when provided with the appropriate resources. Children are encouraged to go outside all year round. This is very important as children need to experience all different weather conditions.
The role of the practitioner:
1. To support children’s confidence in themselves and their developing skills as they tackle new experiences.
2. To be enthusiastic about working with children outside.
3. To provide materials that reflects diversity in order to avoid stereotyping.
4. Offer a range of experiences and resources which are regularly monitored and refreshed to keep them safe and stimulated.
5. To observe children and plan new and exciting activities within their learning environment to reflect the child’s interests.
6. Complete garden checks and risk assessments on a daily basis. It is very important the environment is safe, secure and hazard free.
7. Within the garden there should be opportunities for a range of activities such as paint, growing plants, imaginative play, mark-making, looking at books, exploring with malleable materials, water and sand.
8. Staff should NEVER be sat around in the garden.
9. Staff members need to be motivated and make sure ALL children are getting the most of their learning opportunities within the garden.
10. Children learn from adults so remember you need to be a good role-model for them.
This can depend on how many children you have per session. For example if the majority of children are outside (which they are likely to be) then two staff would be outside playing with the children and one staff inside if there are a couple of children playing inside.
The nursery manager is always there to assist staff if they need to attend to Children’s individual needs, for example, nappy changing/toileting