The importance of outdoor play in winter

When we think back to our childhood, our memories are often highlighted by outdoor play: climbing that big tree, scooting down the steep hill. I can remember playing cricket with the local children at the end of the court after school each day, which was a great social occasion in the neighborhood. Any passing cars drove at a snail’s pace to ensure our safety – yes that was a long time ago!

The benefits of outdoor play are endless, so we need to get children outside and be outside with them.

We cannot underestimate the value of aesthetic development promoted by being outside. Outside, the children develop a heightened sensitivity to the world around them: the beautiful sounds, sights and textures that nature has to offer. This awareness provokes curiosity and observation skills, which are so important for learning.

When outside, children are more likely to invent games. As they do this they are developing:

  • Communication skills and vocabulary, as they invent, modify and explain rules.
  • Number relationships, as they keep score and count.
  • Social customs as they learn to play together and co-operate.

And, of course, outdoors is where children have the opportunity to practice their large motor skills such as running, climbing, jumping and ball skills and balance.

As we enter the middle of winter, we need to remember the benefits of outdoor play for young children. Playing outside presents unique opportunities for exploration and learning. Children learn about the seasonal changes in nature as they explore the outdoors and they learn to modify their play to ensure their safety in wet and icy conditions. Outdoor play is crucial for children’s ongoing development and therefore should be embraced in all types of weather.

Most adults associate winter with getting colds and illnesses such as the flu. However, it is not exposure to the cold that causes these viruses. In fact, it’s likely to be increased exposure to poorly ventilated indoor environments, where bacteria and viruses live. By encouraging outdoor play in winter, children gain much needed exposure to fresh air and Vitamin D, while avoiding bacteria.

In the ELC the children do play outside every day, so please make sure you send along a warm coat and layers of clothing which the children can take off and put on as needed.

Ratings and Assessment visit
Next Tuesday the Department of Education and Training will conduct a Ratings and Assessment visit for our ELC.

This involves a day visit from an authorised office, to observe the staff engaging with the children and families and check on all records and compliance. We look forward to showing them around our beautiful Early Learning Centre.

Term 3 events
Please check your Carey Calendar for the following special events this term:

  • Pajama Day will be held on Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 August. On these days we ask the children and staff to wear pajamas and bring money to help buy sleeping bags for the homeless community. To help the children understand the reason behind this, Janine De Paiva will be visiting the children in the ELC next week to talk to them about people who are homeless, and do not have homes or beds – or pajamas.
  • Fathers’ Twilight Evenings will be held on Wednesday 28 August and Thursday 29 August. We will post further information about this as the date draws closer.
  • Footy Day will also be held during the final week of term.

Robyn Croucher
Acting Director of ELC Kew