Providing the Curriculum Outdoors - Social & Emotional Development

Posted on 28th May 2020


Social and emotional development is all about how individuals make sense of and learn about who they are. Young children experience many emotions and have to learn how to manage and express these emotions appropriately. They become more aware of the emotions of others. They begin to form new relationships. This is all a complex process which evolves over time and can be impacted by many different factors. Children who are emotionally secure are more available to learn.

Intended Learning
These are just some of the learning intentions that we would like children to increasingly develop:

·       Understand their own emotions
Become aware of the feelings of others
Learn how to self-regulate
Show respect for the environment
Form and sustain new friendships and relationships
Display positive dispositions to learning
Display confidence

Some things that children need to experience in order to develop good personal, social and emotional skills:

·     Relive experiences through free movement – running, skipping, pedalling, spinning, jumping, splashing …

·     Experience freedom outdoors – promoting trust, raising self-esteem and confidence

·     Take risks and assess their own risks

·     Self-manage behaviour without adult intervention

·     Challenge themselves

·     Test their own boundaries

·     Build resilience

·     Have different relationships outdoors

·     Co-operate and work together

·     Engage in real tasks that require real questions and real collaboration

·     Make choices and organise their own play and resources


Ways in which adults can support positive social and emotional development outdoors

Plan for experiences that require children to collaborate

Provide time and suitable materials that will challenge and engage children

Make sure that children have time to become deeply absorbed in their play and that they can return to this play

Set up experiences where children have to learn to share and take turns

Don’t try to organise turn taking for the children. Observe how they develop their own strategies

Make time to talk to children about their play and learning

Please do take time to read this lovely little book by Jan White and Liz Edwards which focuses on foundational health and wellbeing aspects of being in the outdoors.
Reasons to be outside

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