Scotland’s childcare minister is encouraging nurseries across the north to embrace the great outdoors to help “improve children’s wellbeing and resilience”.
MSP Maree Todd has marked Outdoor classroom day with a visit to Tornagrain Nursery to showcase the benefits of learning in the countries natural environment.
During the visit yesterday, she spoke of the underlying benefits such open spaces bring to a child’s health.
She said: “Playing, learning and having fun outdoors helps to improve children’s wellbeing and resilience, allowing children to use the natural world to help develop curiosity.
“It’s really important for their physical and mental health. It’s naturally child centred as well so children create their own games, they learn to balance and they learn to play together. They have to learn those gross motor skills before they can control their fine motor skills so it’s a really important part of child development.
What a pleasure it was to welcome back Maree Todd MSP to Stramash today, this time to our newest home Stramash…
“It’s a natural place for STEM education so it is a really rich learning environment; natural for science technology and maths and to encourage good stewardship of the environment.
“Scotland has a wealth of amazing outdoor space, and the expansion of early learning and childcare provides us with an opportunity to increase the amount of time children spend playing in these wonderful spaces.”
The visit coincides with the launch of the Scottish Government’s new guide ‘Out to Play’ providing more than 3,000 nurseries across the country with information on how to utilise and expand their outdoor space.
Tornograin Nursery first began in August last year, creating a vibrant open space for its youngsters at the entrance to the woods.
Manager Alistair Davidson said they created their natural classroom to give the children of the local community the chance to expand their own imaginations.
He said: On a basic level it’s to get kids out into the woods. I’m hoping that in the future Tornagrain children who live here will spend time outside; I suppose a bit like I did when I was younger.
“It’s about creativity. It’s about knowing they can make a plan and execute that plan with their friends. They can come in and do what they would like to do so follow their interests almost. It’s a bit of that and it’s also all the benefits of being outdoors.”