Outdoors in the Early Years

Outdoor Learning in the Early Years 

The outdoor provision provides our young children with a stimulating, engaging, welcoming environment that contains accessible, age-appropriate resources that entice, challenge, and supports their holistic development. The current Early years Foundation Stage (EYFS) 2021 defines an enabled environment as one that is ample and varied that supports children’s learning and development. 

Outdoor play allows young children to explore who they are and what they can do. It supports them as they learn think critically, take risks, and form a true sense of belonging with their peers and with the wider community.

(Outdoor Play for Healthy Little Minds – Sarah Watkins, 2021)

Here at SMITH we aim to provide an environment that supports our children’s holistic development. We offer a positive approach to learning outdoors, where our children have regular learning opportunities within our natural environment. Children can choose to learn inside or outside following an afternoon free-flow system; along with designated, well planned learning experiences. At SMITH we have a strong emphasis on the importance of outdoor learning, allowing our children to develop their independence, be able to take risks, learn about their natural environment, develop friendships and boost their mental health and well-being. Our approach to outdoor learning within our EYFS outdoor provision at SMITH aims to support our wider curriculum.


SMITH principles for EYFS outdoor provision:

  • We value our outdoor provision as both a teaching and learning environment
  • Our outdoor classroom offers our children opportunities to challenge them through play                        

SMITH aims for EYFS outdoor provision: 

To build confidence in our children

To build resilience and independence within our children  

To develop positive relationships and friendships here at SMITH

To promote personal, social and emotional development within our children

To develop creativity within our children at SMITH

To allow our children to take appropriate risks

To enable children to respect the natural environment and wildlife

To promote well-being and positively support mental health


SMITH Outdoor learning in EYFS