You may have noticed A BIG CHANGE in our outdoor environment at Penguin Childcare Epping. We have replaced our ancient artificial turf with tan bark, and added lots of more natural materials such as sand, dirt, bark, rocks, trees and water.
These elements in an early years learning environment are very important as they invite open ended interactions, exploration, discovery and a connection with nature. Children can confidently explore their physical environments through play (Outcome 1, IDENTITY, EYLF), foster an appreciation of the natural environment, develop environmental awareness and provide a platform for ongoing environmental education.
By giving children opportunities to explore these types of materials within their environment we allow them to become socially responsible and show respect for the world around them, demonstrate an increasing knowledge of natural and constructed environments, notice and respond to changes that occur, as well as the impact of human activity on other living things (Outcome 2,COMMUNITY, EYLF).
Children will also be given new play spaces in which to demonstrate their confidence, seek out new challenges and make new discoveries, assert their independence, use their senses to explore the world around them (Outcome 3, WELLBEING, EYLF), and show enthusiasm for participating in physical play and negotiating play spaces to ensure their own safety and the safety of the other children.
Opportunities to explore their environment and experiment with cause and effect, as well as trial and error (Outcome 4, LEARNING, EYLF) are also crucial to their development into confident and independent young people.