I love getting the Little Tots outside exploring and I’m a huge advocate of the benefits of outdoor play which is why I’m proud to be a member of the Forest Childcare Association which demonstrates my commitment to outdoor play and learning.

Forest Childcare Association Logo

Here at Clare’s Little Tot we get outside every day whatever the weather. I believe that fresh air and open spaces are good for children (and adults) and I don’t just mean getting out for the school run.  I have a fully enclosed back garden which the children have free flow access to most of the year when the weather allows the playroom doors to be left open. During the colder months we still access the garden daily or other outdoor spaces by making sure we dress appropriately.

Gruffalo Woodlesford Lock

What is Forest Childcare?

Forest Childcare is based on the principles of Forest Schools, a Scandinavian childcare movement where the childcare takes place in outdoor settings. Forest Childcare is about providing weekly purposeful outings to outdoor spaces where children can run, jump and climb until their hearts content.

It’s about more than just taking children outside to do a school run or play in the garden. It’s about giving children the chance to explore the great outdoors and what nature has to offer and learn to manage their own risks  whilst learning to appreciate the world around them.

collecting wild flowers nature walk

Benefits of using a Forest Childcare provider

When you chose a Forest Childcare provider you can be sure that your child will be enjoying and benefiting from weekly (or more) outings outdoors that provide a whole host of benefits to your child’s health and development. Some of these benefits are listed below.

  • Helps to improve gross motor skills through running, climbing and balancing etc.
  • Teaches children to appreciate their natural environment and understand the world around them
  • Encourages children to learn to manage their own risks
  • Builds their imaginations
  • Improves thier emotional wellbeing and relieves stress.
  • Improve children’s concentration, perseverance, cooperation and motivation skills
  • Gives children access to Vitamin D and fresh air.
  • Helps children develop social and language skills through building relationships, turn taking, cooperation etc.
  • Outdoor learning covers the 7 area of learning and development as set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and is just a valuable as indoor learning.

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Forest Childcare and Childminding

As soon as I found out about the Forest Childcare Association I signed up to become a member straight away for my childminding business. I’ve always taken the Little Tots on regular outdoor outings whatever the weather and this was a way to showcase the benefits of being outdoors as well as the fun the Tots have to current and potential families looking to place their children with me.

The fact that I have 3 young children under school age every day and no car doesn’t stop me from getting the Little Tots out exploring. Even non-walkers can join in and love to get out of the pram and explore all the different textures they’re surrounded by.

I ensure I risk assess, folllow my procedures for outings and safety when out and about and make sure I have the correct permissions in place.

Taking a stroll to see the animals at Swithens Farm

Read my post here on Forest Childcare to find out more as well as how you can join if you’re an Early Years worker.