Outdoor Learning Bristol Early Years

Outdoor Play and Learning

Outdoor Play is an important part of early years’ work with children. There are many benefits for children in spending time outdoors, including physical development and a sense of emotional and cognitive well-being. Outdoors is where children will experience a sense of freedom, engage with the changing seasons and nature, and develop friendships. For some children, outdoors is where they prefer to be and find it easier to communicate. There is a growing body of research to suggest that children are spending less time outdoors compared to previous generations which makes it even more important for us to provide quality environments and experiences for them in our own outdoor environments and the wider community. This section of the website will look at current articles and debates on outdoor play and include inspiring case studies.

Risk and outdoors play

Risk assessment can be a huge concern for early years practitioners, but depriving children of opportunities to take control over aspects of their lives can only adversely affect their development.  To read Jay Ramsay’s thoughts on risk, please click here (copyright Jay Ramsay), or go to an article published in Nursery World which tackles this thorny issue.

The Outdoor Audit

outdoor-audit-front-pageThe Outdoor Audit has been produced in conjunction with the Bristol Standard. It is designed to help you reflect on all aspects of your outdoor provision and to plan for improvements. The inspiring photos taken in Bristol settings will give you ideas and there are useful contacts in the back of the booklet.

Access to the online audit is available free to Bristol settings and a password can be obtained from your Foundation Years Consultant. If you are outside Bristol and would like to use the audit there is a charge of £25. Contact Nicky Bale for details:


0117 9031270

When you have been provided with the access password you may go to the Outdoor Audit here.

Useful Resources

Case Studies

Sticky Fish Pre-School, Fishponds

Sticky Fish is a Christian pre-school established in September 1994. Their trustees and managers are part of the fellowship at Fishponds Baptist Church or members of other local churches. They are an inclusive setting and welcome staff of other faiths or with no...

read more

Bristol Childminder’s Forest School

Bristol childminder, Millie Colwey has shared her experiences of forest school leader training, which she completed with the support of Redcliffe Nursery and Children’s Centre and the Forest School Learning Initiative

Download the full article here.

Early Learning contacts

Nicola Theobald, Early Years Improvement Officer

Elizabeth Fee, Early Years Improvement Officer

Nicky Bale, Foundation Years Bristol Standard Consultant

Smi Pearce, Foundation Years Consultant Assessment and Transition