Nursery Equipment: Editor's view

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Do you fully understand the benefits of outdoor play? Do you know the full range of experiences that you should offer young children outdoors? I thought I did until talking to a nursery owner who champions outdoor play.

I knew all the arguments about outdoor play offering children greater challenge, risk-taking opportunities, space to create on a larger scale, freedom to express themselves - ie shout! What I had underestimated were the feelings of shared responsibility, mutual trust and friendship that stem from being in an environment that encourages children to 'work' together and 'look out' for each other.

Many PVI settings are having to reflect on these issues as they redevelop their outdoor areas with the help of the Early Years Capital Grant - totalling £642m of Government funding (see page 6).

To plan and equip an outside area well, providers need to understand the full potential of outdoor play. This edition of Nursery Equipment aims to help settings reflect on what to offer childen and why, to ensure that any investment they make is money well spent.

Leading early years figures spell out the benefits and learning that stem from outdoor play, advise on the layout and resources that maximise that potential and encourage providers to think creatively when planning their outdoor spaces. They explain what makes outdoor play different and remind us that 'indoor' resources are so much more fun when played with outside.

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