A playful approach to learning allows us to seize the day and grasp every learning opportunity in our path. When I say that, I literally mean in our path, as this week the adults and children in the my EYFS setting all set off on a wonderful winter wellie walk. We simply ventured out of our space and stomped our way around the rest of the schools outdoor environment.
Adults and children talked about their environment and children were animated, engaged and very eager to explore their world first hand. They jumped and rolled in piles of leaves and dashed from one discovery to the next.
Their obvious joy and delight at finding a bug hotel in a tree was clear for all to see. Collections of treasures were made, children felt their hearts race as they ran around, talk flowed between children as they commented on and described the world around them. They experimented with new words and phrases and listened carefully as adults named things and shared their knowledge. Most importantly the adults listened and let the children lead. There were plenty of ‘wow’ moments as children climbed trees, found shelters and experienced joyful learning outside.
These wellie walks enhance our continuous provision and allow us to make the most of our wider outdoor space. They provide children with the opportunity to run further and to explore the great outdoors on a larger scale. Our daily continuous provision gives our children the opportunity to free flow between the indoor and outdoor playful learning environment. However, going on walks feels like setting off on a voyage of shared discovery and thinking.
The impact of such shared adventures is enormous. Children and adults display high levels of well being ( as measured using the Leuven Scale) and nurture each others curiosity and wonder at our world.
On our return some children choose to move indoors, independently removing their waterproofs and exchanging their wellies for their shoes. We passionately believe the Nordic saying ‘ there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing’! Others choose to remain in our great outdoors and confidently begin to purposefully move tyres, crates and cable reels around,demanding yet more physical effort from themselves. Some children grab an apron and dash off to the mud kitchen where the children are ‘ provided with open-ended resources that facilitate challenge and encourage discovery’ (Thomas and McInnes’, 2018 A chapter titled ‘Into the great outdoors: opportunities and experiences by Alyson Lewis and Rebecca Poole).
The opportunities for memorable, joyful shared learning outside are endless and wonderful. It begs the question why anyone would want to stay in?