The transition from nursery to school can be a tricky time for young children, so it’s important to help prepare them as much as possible. Playing outside can offer many benefits when it comes to improving school readiness and boosting social skills.
What is School Readiness?
School readiness is a term which describes whether children at age 5 have the necessary skills and knowledge to begin school. This includes being able to interact appropriately with other children and having the correct manners for an educational setting. Playing outside during EYFS encourages kids to communicate, share and work together which all helps develop a range of skills.
Research has found that children who are socially, emotionally and intellectually developed before starting school will have a higher chance of success. The same applies to physical development which is also enhanced through outdoor play and physical activity.
Here are a few things to look out for when checking whether a child is ready for school
- Children should be prepared to separate from a parent or carer between the ages of 4 and 5.
- They should have the ability to listen and follow instructions they are given.
- Vocabulary should be broad enough to express feelings, needs and ideas.
- A child should know how to identify themselves by name and age.
- Display appropriate interaction with adults and other children.
- Have an understanding of words and language both spoken and written.
- Voice their needs or concerns such as hunger, pain or needing the toilet.
- Be able to focus on a particular task or activity and take an interest in what they are doing.
- A child should understand how to share and take responsibility for their own actions.
All of these skills are vital for a child starting education as they will need to follow instructions, form relationships and communicate with adults. Visit this site to find out more about preparing your child for moving into education.
Transitioning from Nursery to School
There are similarities between nurseries and schools but often the transition can be overwhelming for Early Years children. While nursery is more focused on play and establishing basic skills, the school environment is much more structured with more rules and instructions to follow. There are plenty of ways outdoor play can teach organisation, helping kids get used to routine and structure.
If children are taught how to interact with others, be considerate and use their manners from a younger age, they are more likely to carry this into their later life. Using equipment, toys and outdoor play areas encourages them to share and be kind to others so everyone gets a turn. Things like sensory play activities can also help with this part of development.
Factors Affecting School Readiness
A number of main factors affect whether or not a child is ready to start school. Some of these include:
- Social – Children should be able to play nicely with others, be polite and form relationships. All of which can be helped through outdoor play with both individual and group activities.
- Physical – Being active can help improve fitness and physical coordination in Early Years which has many benefits when moving into primary school.
- Emotional – Kids should have the ability to control their emotions and work in groups without heavy interaction with adults. They should also recognise emotions in others and realise when someone might be upset, worried, happy etc.
All of these are factors affecting school readiness and it’s a good idea to address these things while a child is still in nursery. You could also incorporate risk-taking into outdoor play to help improve children’s confidence and self-esteem.
How Outdoor Play Can Help
Giving children access to outdoor play areas can help enhance their school readiness in many ways. Not only will it improve their physical fitness but it also promotes better social skills. Some of the key benefits are:
- Playing outside encourages kids to make friends and work together.
- They are taught how to share, wait their turn and understand other people’s emotions.
- Using equipment like climbing frames helps boost confidence in taking on new challenges.
- Certain games and activities help promote determination and perseverance which are necessary for future success.
- Working with different people encourages children to empathise and understand each other’s feelings and needs.
- Playing in parks and local community facilities allows kids to meet people from different age groups and backgrounds, broadening their knowledge and skills.
There are so many different ways to play and learn outside and they can all contribute to getting kids ready for school and giving them the best chance of success.
Creating Effective Playgrounds
When it comes to creating effective playgrounds for nurseries and play schools, there are plenty of options to choose from. You could choose to include colourful markings on the floor as well as different types of equipment.
Visit this page for more details on different nursery play area designs we offer. You don’t have to have an elaborate set of equipment installed, it could be as simple as having game designs printed onto a tarmac surface.
Get in touch with us today if you’d like more information on the different products and services we provide. Just fill in the contact form and let us know what you’re looking for and a rough idea of your budget.