The outdoor play space can be a rich environment for learning and development, and it’s important to approach it with intentionality and purpose. However, we understand that there are risks that come with taking the learning outside. We’re here to help make the transition as safe and easy as possible with our risk-benefit analysis.
A risk-benefit analysis is an essential tool for ensuring that outdoor play activities are safe and appropriate for children. By considering both the potential risks and the benefits of an activity, you can make informed decisions about whether to proceed with it, and if so, how to minimise any risks.
Fostering holistic learning in the outdoors
Now that we’ve ensured everyone’s safety, here are some ideas for how to use an outdoor play space as an extension of your classroom:
- Incorporate literacy and numeracy: Provide opportunities for children to engage in literacy and numeracy activities outdoors. For example, create a writing centre with clipboards and pencils, or set up a counting activity with natural materials like acorns or pebbles.
- Encourage physical activity: The outdoor play space is a great place for children to get exercise and develop gross motor skills. Provide opportunities for climbing, balancing, and running, as well as games and activities that promote teamwork and cooperation.
- Foster social-emotional development: Use the outdoor play space as a place for children to develop social skills and learn to regulate their emotions. Provide opportunities for children to work together on projects or games, and create spaces for quiet reflection and relaxation.
- Use the outdoor play space for scientific exploration: The natural world provides endless opportunities for scientific inquiry. Encourage children to observe and document changes in the environment, and provide materials for deepening conceptual understandings.
- Create interest areas that encourage exploration and inquiry: Set up different play areas that invite children to investigate and explore. This could include areas for digging, water play, building with loose parts, or exploring nature. Use natural materials like rocks, sticks, and leaves to encourage open-ended play.
By intentionally designing the outdoor play space as an extension of the classroom, you can create a rich and engaging learning environment that supports the holistic development of children.
How to use this resource:
- Read through the steps needed to do a risk-benefit analysis
- Identify key activities in your outdoor space which need a risk-benefit analysis
- Use the template to document your analysis