Photo: children learning outdoors at Kiddlywinks Nursery, Penrith

Outdoor Learning

At Kiddlywinks we recognise the impact that being outdoors can have on children’s learning and development. Whether within the boundaries of our local town, or out in the rural wilds, there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of the outside every day.

Each nursery has its own unique outdoor area and access to natural spaces a short journey beyond its doors which allow children to have positive learning experiences in all weathers, throughout the changing seasons.

Let us ask you a question…

Where was your favourite place to play when you were growing up?

Take 30 seconds and have a little think about it…

Photo: children playing outdoors at Kiddlywinks

Was it somewhere outside? Because it is in almost everyone we ask.

Outdoor play and outdoor learning are the cornerstones of what we do at Kiddlywinks Nursery. From our ‘mud kitchens’ to our renowned Grass Hoppers Group and our new Forest School which will run from both our nurseries in Autumn 2019, the great outdoors plays an integral part in the learning and development of all the children who come through our doors. Each nursery offers its own unique outside learning landscape but both are planned carefully to enrich children’s learning and skills development. You could adopt the Forest School ethos of child-led and child-initiated learning in even a small area of your outside space which could be set aside and allow children to ‘do their own thing’ using natural materials.

What happens at Forest School/Grass Hopper Groups?

Children are encouraged to follow rules and routines, to be responsible for their own safety and assess risks – all under close supervision!

Each session is a unique combination of discovery, exploration, investigation, play, and practical tasks all predominantly child-initiated and child-led.

We provide the children with small tarpaulins and some ropes, baskets and small pieces of wood that encourage them to build dens and do some problem solving.

Observation of these sessions will provide information about the children which is unlikely to be gathered in any other way!

To find out more about Forest Schools visit

At our Penrith nursery our outside play spaces are designed to be our classroom under the sky. Carefully zoned learning areas provide rich opportunities to learn, explore and be curious about the world we live in. Trips into town and engaging with the wider community are available in abundance such as:

  • Pets at Home
  • The Library
  • Castle park
  • Shops
  • Cafes
  • Local businesses
  • Nature Reserve
  • Train Station
  • Dentists
  • Penrith’s historical building and landmarks
  • Grass Hoppers Outdoors Learning at The Meadows/Forest School

Our Meadows Nursery has a three-quarter acre learning meadow where Chick and Ken the nursery chickens are free to roam and join the children in their play. Children have regular access to:

  • River walks
  • Trips to Rheged
  • Engagement with local businesses
  • Daily Forest School activities lead by our qualified Forest School Teacher

At Kiddlywinks we strongly support the view that being outside provides children with the sense of freedom and provides a fantastic opportunity for children to develop their knowledge and skills across all areas of learning. Whether collecting eggs at The Meadows or chasing creepy crawlies in our mini beast digging and habitat areas at Penrith, children have time, space and opportunity to follow their own learning agenda through the support of sensitive and well timed teaching moments that are unique to the child. Being outside is good for the mind and for our health and that is why at Kiddlywinks we believe Outdoors is special:

  • It offers a wealthy, multi-sensory environment that is meaningful, stimulating and motivating for all young children.
  • Children can move more freely, take risks.
  • Children can develop their health and strength and coordination.
  • Opportunity to experience nature and the weather.
  • Relationships are different outdoors children who are quiet indoors are often less reserved outdoors.
  • Working on large scale activities provides the opportunity for children to cooperate, negotiate and collaborate.
  • Outdoors does not limit itself to Kiddlywinks grounds. We explore with your children. Visit the park, the shops or the train station so they can learn about and start to make sense of their world.

As a team, we use all our senses to observe the outdoor environment and how children are using the environment. It is from our ongoing evaluation to identify our strengths that we can also recognise our needs for development and our engagement with such a special environment is ever evolving to ensure that children have the knowledge and skills to look after their planet now and in the future.

Logos: NDNA, Early Years Alliance, I Can, Sing & Sign, Smile 4 Life