Encouraging outdoor play

Allsorts After School Club in Dornoch provides a care service for up to 24 primary school aged children. It operates during term time from Dornoch Academy. It provides three outdoor play sessions in the nearby 'Enchanted Forest'. It also provides holiday clubs during easter, summer and October holidays in partnership with Highlife Highland.

The club provides excellent opportunities for children to enjoy outdoor free play within the forest, enabling them to explore and use their imaginations to build dens and create adventures in the natural environment.

Joan Bishop, chair, explained: "One of the real challenges of outdoor play is other people's perceptions of the dangers.  We started doing a risk-benefit analysis rather than a strict risk assessment.  So, what are the benefits of children being outside, or rather, the risks of them not going outside?  We want to give the children the chance to learn from their own mistakes.  So we are building resilience in these children.  And I think as people see that, then they can see that this is a positive thing to do." 

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Max, who’s in Primary 7, added: "I like playing outside because it's a lot of fun and we get fresh air. There's playing in the den, swinging on the hammocks, running around and playing. We also roast brioches, bagels and toast marshmallows." 

Sequence 01 1At the time of filming, Inspector Jill MacDonald said: "Here, the focus is on outdoor play, unstructured play, where children can really use their imaginations and work together to play different games, build dens, light fires and really have a great time. The children can take part in things that they may never get the opportunity to do at home - and in a safe environment."

We publish regular inspection reports for all care services - and grades can go up and down depending on what we see. The effective practice we see here should always be read in conjunction with the latest inspection report.


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