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The Park or Open Spaces

There are many parks and open spaces in Stoke which can provide the children with a wide range of experiences that follow their interests. There are often banks to roll down, climbing equipment that provides challenge for them, water to investigate, and animals to watch. The seasons provide opportunities to talk about change. They may have a favourite tree that can be looked at each time they go or could be photographed so that a resource is built up over time showing how the tree has grown or changes throughout the season from being bare to in leaf, and having autumn colour and then being bare again, if it is a deciduous tree.

The flora available in places such as this can enable children to learn plant names such as aquilegia, clover, peony, beech, oak, and berberis to name but a few. If you have plant checker on your phone or a plant identification book, children can be included in the looking up of names by carefully looking at the features of the leaves and flowers. This is also a motivating way of extending children's language as children love playing with new and interesting works. 

The fauna may differ from place to place and some may be the same. Again, it will provide opportunities to introduce a range of new language by either using the individual names, the collective names, the gender names, or the juvenile names.  

Some parks or open spaces lend themselves well to den making and other forest school type activities. Equipment can easily be carried with you to enhance the experiences on offer to the children as well as making the most of what occurs naturally.

It may be necessary to provide the children with a visual boundary, so they know which area they are expected to remain in. This may be portable equipment such as cones etc or you could make use of naturally occurring features such as rocks, trees, bushes, or person-made features such as fences, seating or paths etc.

These spaces often allow the children to be freer than outside spaces attached to settings as they are often on a larger scale. 

Like any outing, it will be necessary to think about the learning the children will engage with and also to make the most of opportunities that happen spontaneously. Children will also need to be reminded of expectations and be included in the risk assessments that will take place.

It may be sensible to think about how children and staff will be kept safe whilst out and to have strategies in place for dealing with anti-social behaviour, unfriendly or intimidating dogs etc before leaving the setting.  Children can be included in deciding what the solutions might be to these challenges.  It is also useful to remember how many times these spaces are utilised without encountering this type of situation.