Aberdeen welcomes innovative outdoor learning ELC for preschoolers
Outdoor learning and play based practices are being embraced in the Scottish city of Aberdeen, with work on an innovative outdoor early learning centre for preschool children to begin Aberdeen’s Duthie Park later this month.
The park’s East Lodge will be the hub for the project, which is the pilot initiative of Aberdeen City Council’s £23 million (AUD $41 million) investment transforming nursery (preschool and early years) settings across the city in preparation for expanded early learning and childcare (ELC) hours for children below school age.
Outdoor nurseries are being embraced nationally in the public and private sector as a part of a strategy informed by the success of the same approach worldwide, with a specific focus on the Scandinavian model.
Speaking with local news outlet Evening Express Aberdeen City Councillor, Jenny Laing, said the council was committed to ensuring children ‘reap the rewards’ of extensive research outlining the benefits of outdoor, play-based learning.
“Innovation is every bit as important and the Duthie Park is the perfect location to focus on for our pilot project,” Ms Laing said.
The creation of outdoor nurseries and hybrid nurseries – combining more traditional nursery provision with extended outdoor learning – is viewed as an important part of a wider city strategy.
The key aims of these nurseries are to enhance physical as well as emotional wellbeing and social development.
Costing £1.4m (AUD $2.5m) , the Duthie Park nursery is scheduled to open in summer and will also include provision for indoor space in adverse weather in the redeveloped East Lodge.
Additional staff ratios will apply in the outdoor space to ensure children remain healthy and safe.
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