Here at Ruth Landau Harp we are lucky enough to have extensive outdoor play spaces that are more than double the recommendations of our National Regulations. That equates to nearly 14.6 square metres of space per child!
A recent survey of our parents highlighted this as one of the contributing factors, when choosing care for their children. Is it any wonder then that allowing children access to and time in our outdoor play spaces, is such an important feature of our centre’s philosophy.
“We place a great deal of importance on the natural world and allow our children many opportunities throughout the day to access the outdoors (in all seasons). Nature play is an integral part of our pedagogical practice and we encourage the use of naturally sourced materials for experimentation and exploration.” – Ruth Landau Harp Centre Philosophy.
Not only good for physical health, development and wellbeing, time in the great outdoors allows children to engage in risky play, push and challenge their gross motor skills, meet the requirements for healthy levels of active play and develop deep connections to the natural environment.
Unstructured play in an outdoors setting allows children to create play, using natural features like logs, rocks, water, soil, sticks and leaves. It promotes physical health, problem solving, social skills, resilience and much more.
We see it as an essential right of the child to have this opportunity for play in nature and are guided by the ethos that “there is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing” -Sir Ranulph Fiennes
You do not have to explore too far to source research-based articles, that extol the virtues of outdoor play with findings that include;
- significant positive effects on the children’s play, social behaviours and mental health, particularly in independent play and prosocial behaviours.
- children playing in the playground, instead of in nature, miss out on creative, imaginative play that is open-ended and unstructured.
- Outdoor play allows children to test their physical limits, express themselves and build their self-confidence
- Playing outside and being in natural environments can help children relax and feel calm. This means outdoor play can be good for your child’s mental health and wellbeing.
- Time outdoors boosts levels of vitamin D
With careful planning, years of planting and growing and a firm belief in the benefits to children, we have created a pretty enviable space here at RLH, putting the ‘Great’ into the ‘Great Outdoors’.