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Young children, the outdoors and nature
Young children, the outdoors and nature

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1 What are the challenges?

If you are already conscious of the challenges you are facing when taking young children outdoors, then you are not alone. Bilton et al. (2005) identify twelve common challenges surrounding outdoor provision. Not all of them will be an issue in all settings, or to all practitioners in a setting, and some may be more of a barrier than others.

1 Vandalism 2 Shared space 3 Reluctance to change 4 Management 5 Storage 6 Lack of direct access 7 Restricted outdoor area 8 Weather 9 Foxes 10 Financial considerations 11 Parents and carers 12 Risk management

Depending on where your setting is located, some of these barriers may strike a chord with you, while others you may not have considered. In some urban areas, the problem of brave foxes making dens in a nursery’s outdoor space is not unheard of. In other areas, vandalism and litter left overnight is a bigger concern.

Alongside these barriers, one common challenge for settings in facilitating babies and young children spending time outdoors is supporting young children’s routines (Josephidou et al., 2021). This challenge, alongside the other common barriers for practitioners of a lack of direct access to the outdoor space (freeflow) and a reluctance to change, will be considered in the following sections.