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In this the eleventh National Strategies feature on the Early Years Foundation Stage, Kim Porter, senior adviser at Every Child a Talker, and early years regional advisers Jonathan Doherty and Kairen Smith, reflect on the nature and challenges of risk taking and being brave.

Flower gardens let children explore the world of flora and fauna all year round, and can be provided by every setting, explains Diana Lawton.

In our National Strategies series Dr Andrew Lockett, Early Years Regional Adviser (NE), Anne Lamb, Early Years Senior Regional Adviser (EE M) and Jan Lepley, Senior Adviser, reflect on the importance of being outside.

Mathematical learning need not be a dull or daunting prospect, thanks to the ability of well-equipped outside spaces to let children immerse themselves in complex ideas while at play.

Outdoors, children can lose their inhibitions when it comes to reading, writing and talking - and the right mix of resources can help, says Helen Bromley.

Whether they are fashioned from hedgerows or built for purpose from tents and playhouses, dens should be personal retreats for children and places that inspire their imagination and learning, says Diana Lawton.

Outdoor play is essential in the physical and mental development of children. Helen Tovey explores the benefits of a well-resourced outside environment.

Outdoor provision for the early years is set to grow and flourish thanks to funding distributed through local authorities. Annie Davy reports.

Everyday life can be a continuous topic when children are encouraged to experience nature's elements up close. Diana Lawton shows how.