by Eleanor Smith, Keith Service Manager
The outdoor clothing fund has opened opportunities to support all children to gain equal experiences in the outdoors. The benefits of outdoor play are now well established through evidence-based outcomes set out in our local and national guidance. Every child has the right to play experiences both indoors and outdoors as set out in ‘article 31’ of the rights of the child. The fund will allow us to provide suitable waterproof suits and wellies for children who may not have, due to various circumstances. The Scottish outdoor clothing fund is an invaluable source from Inspiring Scotland that has recognised that every child deserves suitable clothing for all-year-round outdoor adventures.
In our setting, we value the benefits of exploring our outdoor environment and community in all weathers to allow children to develop lifelong habits that will support their physical and emotional wellbeing now and in the future. Observing children outdoors shows how interacting with nature can be calming, joyful and invigorating for all children as they use all their senses while exploring and investigating. The sounds of birds cheeping, the textures of leaves and trees, the wind on their face, and the rain dripping off their nose are the experiences we want all our children to have. Children need freedom space, and they need fresh air; allowing them to expel all their pent-up energy helps them become more focused and supports brain development. They also need to begin to think about risks and how to keep themselves safe, another life skill that is crucial for their development. Building their gross motor skills and supporting their physical wellbeing is more vital in our current climate than ever. Children thrive outdoors, their faces light up, and they become deeply engaged in the learning found in all outdoor play.