Continuous Provision for Outdoor Play

The Statutory Framework for the EYFS states that providers must provide access to an outdoor play area or, if that is not possible, ensure that outdoor activities are planned and taken on a daily basis. An outdoor area is just as important for young children's wellbeing and development as an indoor environment.

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Outdoor provision

The outdoors enhances and extends on what you are able to provide a child indoors. By thinking how and why the outdoors could benefit a child, it then leads on to what to provide and how to plan for outdoor continuous provision.

If children are going to have continuous access to equipment outside, with limited adult input, it has to be structured around the child's development needs and be dressed to reflect their interests - thereby attracting the child to the equipment.

By understanding what skills need to be developed for the child you can then move on to consider what areas of your outdoor space need to be enhanced. You need to ensure outdoor play activities are just that, rather than indoor play taken outside. Make use of the space you have and ensure children are given the chance to explore activities they may not be able to achieve indoors.

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How to plan for outdoor continuous provision

  • Access and identify the needs of the children in your care
  • Outline clear goals for children's learning
  • Take into consideration individual child's needs
  • Reflect the need identified in the provision you offer
  • Link 'bridging skills' to indoor provision
  • Be clear and explicit about why you have put indoor provision outside (like a water tray with toys in it)
  • Be clear about how you are planning for development of outdoor skills
  • Enhance outdoor provision with indoor provision for added engagement and basic skill building.

Ensure that you work with your whole team when thinking about Continuous Provision and make sure everyone has an understanding of skill development in children and that the use of indoor provision in the outdoor environment can have a significant impact on a child's attainment.

Information sourced from ABC Does

Remember to always risk-assess any activities you are planning within your outdoor space

Using a Risk Management tool ensures risks can be identified, monitored and managed, whilst improvements can be made through learning from events, incidents, errors and near misses. It is also important you have the right insurance in place to carry out your planned activities. Always inform your insurance company of any changes to your setting whether it is outdoor play equipment or new activities for the children such as forest activities.

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Nursery insurance from Towergate

For more information about Towergate Insurance and our online risk management tool, please contact us on 0330 123 5357 or visit our nursery insurance webpage.

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About the author

Jo Taylor - schools insurance articles authorJo Taylor is an respected insurance industry leader with over 15 years’ experience working with both education and the public sector. She is responsible for supporting her clients on all things insurance and risk related, and is also a mental health first aider qualified through Mental Health First Aid England. 

She has held a number of leadership roles and also has finance and business development experience working in large commercial organisations.

Jo currently works at Towergate as Head of Business Development. Towergate is the UK’s leading independent insurance broking platform and forms part of The Ardonagh Group, an international network of over 100 offices and 7,000 people which incorporates leading brands in both Lloyd’s of London and global markets.