New figures released by the Department for Education last week show that 31% of under-fives were not achieving good levels of development in fields such as communication and language, maths and social skills. Charity Save The Children has said that too many children are being denied ‘a fair start in life’ and the figures are ‘shocking’.
Nearly a third of children are behind in their development when they start primary school and while the government needs to do more to address the shortfall in trained nursery teachers, Early Years settings can work to ensure that their pupils are exposed to the best opportunities to develop their social and communicative skills.
The development of social skills and communication has been regularly linked with successful outdoor learning. Interaction with nature and each other in an outdoor environment has been continually proven to help children develop social skills.
“Experience of the outdoors and wild adventure space has the potential to confer a wide range of benefits on young people…. Development of a positive self-image, confidence in one’s abilities and experience of dealing with uncertainty can be important in helping young people face the wider world and develop enhanced social skills.” (Ward Thompson et al, 2006)
Taking part in play and adventure outside, as a group, gives Early Years children the opportunity to work and play together. Group support, teamwork and co-operation bring children of a young age together in a natural, relaxed setting that can help break down some of the barriers they face in the classroom.
Developing the perfect Early Years outdoor space can help your nursery or setting give your children the best opportunity for development before they start primary school. Speak to one of our local advisors to find out how we can help you create a playground that will encourage social and communicative play between your pupils.