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Inspiring Scotland’s new role in supporting greater use of outdoor learning in the early years

Inspiring Scotland’s new role in supporting greater use of outdoor learning in the early years

Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Maree Todd, has announced the number of hours nursery children spend outdoors is set to increase, and Inspiring Scotland will play a key role in  encouraging and supporting greater use of outdoor learning in the early years.  Ms Todd made the announcement during a visit to City of Edinburgh Council’s Lauriston Castle Forest Kindergarten.

Minister for Childcare and Early Years Maree Todd said:

“The significant expansion of funded early learning and childcare gives us the perfect opportunity to define the type of experience we want to offer our children during their early years. That is why we are committing more than £860,000 to increase the use of outdoor learning, to ensure it becomes a defining feature of childhood in Scotland.“Outdoor learning not only improves mental wellbeing and health and fitness, it can make a huge difference to children’s confidence levels and their ability to risk assess while encouraging a lifelong love of the outdoors.By supporting our young people to go outside and play we are not only making sure their early years are as happy and healthy as possible we are also ensuring every child in Scotland gets the best possible start in life.”

Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said:

“We know the benefits of outdoor learning, exercise and play for young children, in terms of their health and wellbeing and their physical and mental development. Playing, learning and having fun outdoors helps improve wellbeing and resilience, increase physical activity and allows children to use the natural world to develop curiosity and science skills.There is also a growing body of research that shows children with higher levels of active outdoor play have improved cognition, which can result in better academic performance and contribute to closing the attainment gap.” Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood.

Inspiring Scotland’s role will include:

  • Working with eight local authorities to deliver outdoor learning opportunities
  • Producing a ‘how to’ guide for practitioners, with practical advice on how to access outdoor spaces
  • Driving partnership working between councils, third sector and private companies in promoting outdoor learning
  • Helping organisations review the impact of outdoor learning when delivering the expansion to 1,140 hours of funded childcare

 

Commenting on this new piece of work, Inspiring Scotland Chief Executive, Celia Tennant said:

  “We are delighted to be supporting Scottish Government to establish high-quality outdoor play as the essential catalyst for healthy childhood development and a fundamental part of growing up in Scotland.  Our role will include supporting local authorities and social enterprises to develop and scale up outdoor nursery provision alongside supporting good practice to embed outdoor play-based childcare, helping to make playing outside in nature part of the way children in Scotland learn and develop from an early age.”

Read more about our work in outdoor nurseries.

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