Woodlands Nursery and Forest School is an Ofsted Good rated nursery and forest school in Melton Mowbray. Set in a wooded area, your child will learn, play and grow surrounded by nature.

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Six ways Woodlands uses outdoor play to help your child grow

Woodlands Nursery and Forest School is based in a beautiful natural environment. At nursery, we know how vital outdoor play is to your child’s development because we see the benefits of it every day. This month, we're sharing our knowledge about this essential part of your child's development.

Now that summer is here, we’re all racing to get outdoors and enjoy trips to places like the park. Parents will be especially keen to get their children enjoying activities outside after months stuck inside during the winter lockdown. 

But getting outdoors isn’t only important because of making the most of the good weather! At nursery, we know how vital outdoor play is to your child’s development because we see the benefits of it every day. 

Set in a beautiful wooded area, our focus at Woodlands is about learning through play outdoors. All of our rooms have direct access to our secure outdoor play area and children also benefit from our on-site forest school where they learn in nature. Here are six ways that your child benefits from playing outdoors at nursery:

1. It helps to develop your child's motor skills

To help develop their motor and physical skills, your child needs to be able to use their whole body. Younger children will benefit from the different environment as they crawl or begin walking outdoors.

For older children, the outdoor play area gives them the space to do this as they run, jump and climb. We have different equipment to support this, such as balancing beams and bikes. However, the outdoor environment also gives them opportunities to develop their fine motor skills through activities with their hands – such as collecting natural materials in the forest school. 

> Learn more about Woodlands Nursery & Forest School

2. Your child will also develop their other skills

Outdoor play will also support other areas of your child’s development and our outdoor area has activities to support all seven areas of early years development. For example, children will develop their imagination and creativity as they make use of our mud-kitchen with their friends. Activities like counting leaves and natural materials will help them to develop their mathematics skills and their social skills will benefit from playing outdoors with their friends.

> Learn more about our ethos at Woodlands

3. Some children prefer to learn outside

We know that some children prefer to learn outside, so at nursery we provide all children with the same opportunities to learn and develop their skills both inside and outside. For example, we have a dedicated reading area outside so that a child who prefers to learn outside can develop their literacy in the best place for them.

Research shows that very young children mainly learn through sensory and physical experiences, which support their brain development. Outdoor play helps to increase the range of these experiences throughout their day. 

> Learn more about our forest school

4. It can boost your child's confidence and independence

Outdoors, your child will benefit from activities to help boost their independence and confidence. For many children, this is the only opportunity they have to play safely while learning to assess risk – for example as they cross a balancing beam. Outdoors they will also develop the skills to manage new situations, giving them the confidence to try new things.

Our forest school is based around the concept of building your child’s confidence through hands-on learning experiences in a safe environment. For example, they will be encouraged to try new activities such as building a shelter out of sticks and this will build their confidence and independence as they succeed at something that previously seemed impossible.

> Learn more about outdoor play at Woodlands

5. Your child will benefit from unique experiences

Learning outdoors provides unique experiences that your child won’t get indoors. At its most basic, it will help them to learn about the weather, the changing seasons and the world around them as they experience the outdoor area at different times of the year.

However, we also provide outdoor activities to help them learn more about natural world. For example, your child will help to water and look after plants in our vegetable garden, learn about the different bugs that live in our bug hotel and collect natural materials in the garden that can be used to create artwork. These beneficial experiences are unique to play outdoors.

> Learn more about pre-school at Woodlands

6. Outdoor play helps your child to develop a healthy and active lifestyle

Playing outdoors at nursery age can help your child to develop healthy habits for life as they start to understand that being active helps to keep their body healthy.

At this age, we also know that physical activity outdoors helps your child to burn off energy and this can help them to sleep, eat and live more healthily. This is also true in younger children – research shows that babies sleep better at night if they have had fresh air and sunshine during the day.

> Learn more about our approach to nutrition

Woodlands Nursery & Forest School cares for children from 6 weeks old until school age. We are an Ofsted Good rated nursery and focus on learning through play in nature. We are open all year around, Monday to Friday 7.30am - 6pm.

We would love to chat with you and answer any questions you might have. Fill in our enquiry form to arrange a viewing! 

Or give us a call on 01664 562 277 or email woodlands@parklanekids.co.uk and we can answer any questions you may have!