Space to Grow_Cover
Resource Type Care Inspectorate Programmes & Publications

Space to Grow

Space to Grow aims to maximise the positive experiences for children by encouraging providers to think innovatively and flexibly about design and about the impact the environment can have on the quality of a child’s care, development, learning, health and wellbeing. Some settings have been registered to take account of the outdoor space to increase the number of places for children. In these settings account has been taken of the quality of the environment, children’s use of indoor and outdoor space and the quality of opportunities and experiences for children. These settings are known as an indoor/outdoor settings as described in Early Learning and Childcare: Delivering High Quality Play and Learning Environments Outdoors Practice Note.  

For expansion planning purposes, providers and planners requested that the Scottish Government provide some parameters on the outdoor space to support registration of an increased number of children within an indoor/outdoor setting. Space to Grow describes good quality outdoor space and sets out additional information to support the provision of indoor/outdoor settings with a focus on high quality outcomes for children.

However, those using the guidance told us that further explanation around indoor/outdoor settings and example case studies would be extremely useful to assist with their expansion plans. This Indoor/Outdoor document is now published - Space to Grow: Indoor/outdoor settings. A Frequently Asked Questions document is also available. 

Download a poster showing examples of outdoor childcare provision by clicking here.

To assist with planning purposes, we have provided some photographs of aspects of practice, which should be useful to those considering an indoor outdoor setting.




Natural environment












Improvement support section

An introduction to the improvement support section and quality improvement methodology.

My world outdoors

A practice resource highlighting the benefits of outdoor play for children attending early learning and childcare

Health and Social Care Standards

The Health and Social Care Standards set out what we should expect when using health, social care or social work services in Scotland

Related resources

Latest children and young people bulletin

A weekly bulletin produced by our policy team providing an update on the key developments concerning children and young people.

Children & Young People Bulletin: 15 - 21 September 2023

Children & Young People Bulletin: 15 - 21 September 2023

Children & Young People Bulletin: 15 - 21 September 2023