Monday, February 11, 2013

Outdoor Environments


Why be outside?

To explore the natural environment, to investigate the outside world, to be involved in projects with others, to imagine a place, to feel a space, to create with friends, to be messy, to touch the leaves, to feel the sand, to smell the garden, to hear the water run, to feel and just be in nature. To represent new ideas and thinking in different ways, TO PLAY!

These are just a few of the many reasons to take learning outside & explore with children!


We value the outdoor environment by providing large open spaces for children to run, jump climb and play, we provide moveable materials such as sticks, logs, crates and tyres for children to construct with, and change spaces to support their interests and learning. Smaller areas are created with different sensory textures and surfaces in mind, as well as encouraging individual and small group play, and transition to different spaces in the yard through paths, gardens and walkways.

Textured surfaces create interesting live play scapes for children.


A shaded barrel creates a cosy play space for a small group of children.

The very beginning of our simple mud patch (work in progress).

We began with a muddy patch, added a plank of wood and some pots.


Paths created from pavers and grass  provide different sensory surfaces to walk on and feel the hard and soft textures.


Rocks, plants, bark and log cuts, create interesting surfaces for children to explore and adapt.


The veggie patch we created with the children. The children painted the fence to show what they planted. They all help to look after our gardens with the watering cans provided. We created this simple small garden from an old wooden palette.

More outdoor pics to come soon!

Some cozy outdoor cubbies,  quiet spaces, and  places to explore with friends. These outdoor spaces were created with as much natural material as possible, taking advantage of the already existing trees, fences, gardens, paths and walkways.

We created this 'cubby wall' by tying some wooden planks to an already existing fence. With some old pieces that would have otherwise been scrap, we made a window with curtains and one with a hinged opening. The children love to look through the windows and talk to the children in the other yard.

Bridges, benches, and soft furnishings add to these outdoor spaces, making them comfortable in their natural surrounds.

More Outdoor Pics coming soon!

Story tables


What are story tables and why do we use it in our site?

Story tables are a rich litracy experience where children use props to sequence, recount and retell the story . They are exposed to concepts of print as they help create story tables of their own.

A popular traditional story " The three billy Goats Gruff."

Using story tables is an excellent tool for children with English as a second langauge as well as special rights, as they use the props and use verbal and non-verbal communication to tell the story.

The story tables can be a functional or factual book with props and adjuncts from the story, for children to retell the story or recreate the story their own way.

We often try and use non representational props for (e.g a block for an oven) to extend children's ability to represent ideas and objects.

Waddle, Giggle, Gargle! -A great book to begin with as it only needs a few simple props.

Different textures create a snowy environment for the story

Pamela Allen books are great story table books. This one encourages lots of conversation about problem solving and working together .

'Mary Elizabeth's House' , the children painted the house red and made signs for the house.

Another simple story about growing.

Remember to involve and include the children when creating a story table!

Another favourite,  add toy fruit as well as pictures of the food, this is an excellent counting and sorting story.

This one although a favourite , was a bit tricky with all the sheep going missing especialy the green sheep. Great way to let children know to leave all the props on the story tables.

Traditional stories like, ' The Three Little Pigs', 'Goldilocks', 'Red Riding Hood', 'The Gingerbread Man', 'The little Red Hen' are great ones to try......Keep watching this post!