Policy: Outdoor Play

Here we review our health and safety procedures regarding outdoor play and what we need to have in place if we're to go on outings to the wider community

Key Points:

  • Managers must ensure that an outings risk assessment of their gardens are undertaken prior to any outdoor play - these forms can be found on the company files on BambooHR>Files and need to be filled out, signed and then uploaded to the Health & Safety folder on the School's Team Drive> Risk Assessments>Outings Risk Assessments in a chronological format
  • Managers must act on any risks highlighted and add them to the risk register on the Management Information pack for submission in their month end compliance reporting
  • Children must go out at least once a day for outings to the playgrounds and / or the surrounding community. It is the school's policy in teaching and learning to ensure that sports is embedded in our curriculum as part of the Physical Development requirements of the EYFS - room leaders to certify that they are delivering on this through daily diaries that document where they went on their outing, and what physical activities were undertaken
  • Children should always have wet weather gear and, in the summer months, suncream and a hat so that children can still go out in any weather.
  • Buggies for the younger children may be erected in advance but cannot obstruct any third party access or egress point or obstruct any fire escapes
  • If Room Leaders are taking children on an outing - only those with the necessary permissions may attend the outing and the Room Leader needs to only attend an outing where there is an outings risk assessment in place
  • Staff need to take a nursery mobile phone (charged); an evacuation bag with updated / checked medication kit; a copy of the lost child policy and procedure; water and snacks and a blanket for warmth; full list of children in attendance and emergency contact numbers - it is their responsibility to ensure that all of these items are in their possession before going on the outing
  • Room Leaders need to confirm their planned visit with the manager in advance and during the outing, undertake headcount checks as regularly as possible but no less than at every junction. The room leader will be at the rear of the procession, with children holding one another's hands led / steered by the staff team and with the deputy room leader at the head of the procession.

Outdoor Play 

At Hatching Dragons we are committed to the importance of daily outdoor play and the physical development of all children regardless of their age and stage of development. We provide outdoor play in all weathers. Where possible and appropriate, we make outdoor activities accessible to children with learning difficulties and disabilities to ensure inclusive use of the outdoor area.

We recognise that children need regular access to outdoor play in order to keep fit and healthy, develop their large and fine motor skills, experience learning in a natural environment and access sunlight in order to absorb vitamin D more effectively. We also refer to The Chief Medical Office guidance on physical activity. [1] www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-physical-activity-guidelines 

The outdoor areas, both within the nursery grounds and in the local community have a wealth of experiences and resources which help children to develop in a variety of ways, including independence, exploration and investigative skills, risk taking and self-esteem, all of which support children to develop skills now and for the future.

Westminster: St James the Less Joint Protocol

The playground of St James the Less Church School has a joint use protocol with the Church as it is a requirement of planning to provide the church with an emergency exit through the grounds of the playground in the incidence of fire / evacuation, as it is their primary exit route to the joint congregation point in Thorndike Street. The School has an joint policy statement on managing this risk, and an active risk assessment on active controls. See the joint SCR for Church personnel with key holder access and their DBS records

Managing Risk: Outdoor play

We ensure all areas are safe and secure through close supervision and the use of robust risk assessments and safety checks.  Where possible and appropriate, we plan and encourage play that helps children understand and manage risks. This type of play allows children to explore and find their own boundaries in a safe environment with supportive practitioners. Staff are informed of the importance of safety procedures and are trained appropriately to ensure these procedures are followed effectively.

We obtain parental permission before any child leaves the nursery during the day on external outings that are new to the parents / community - those that are regularised activities will have completed risk assessments by the manager saved on the drive. See our outings policy for more information.

We plan all outdoor play opportunities and outings to complement the indoor activities and provide children with purposeful activities that support and follow individual children’s interests. There is a balance of both adult-led and child-initiated opportunities to enable children to learn and practice new skills, knowledge and behaviours.

Where activities take place away from the setting (e.g. in the local wood) then a mobile phone and first aid kit will be taken to ensure the safety of children at all times. A trained paediatric first aider will be present when away from the main setting. 

We use this policy alongside the following policies to ensure the safety and welfare of children throughout their time outside:

  • Health and Safety
  • Sun Care
  • Caring for Babies and Toddlers
  • Lost Child Policy
  • Parents and Carers as Partners 
  • Supervision of Children
  • Safeguarding and Child Protection
  • Outings.