What is Our Little Outdoor Classroom & Daycare?
Out of School Care
Our Little Outdoor Classroom & Daycare was set up in 2018. The main aim of the Classroom is to help families in Killearn and surrounding villages manage the balance between home and work more easily. It is often the case that we cannot fit childcare around the working day, and this is particularly the case in rural areas, where parents and carers have to commute to Glasgow and Stirling. With the School Nursery and Primary School opening at 9am and finishing at 3pm, working families are often faced with a problem; is it possible to fit my working day into school hours? For many families this is not the case. This often leads to families choosing not to work as the cost of childcare is too much and there is a lack of wrap-around childcare in these rural communities.
Our Little Outdoor Classroom & Daycare has been designed to help with these problems. The Classroom will open from 7.30am, allowing working parents to drop their children off on their way to work. As a mum who commuted to Glasgow for many years I realise that it is not achievable dropping the kids off at 7.45/8am and making it into town for 9am. Having that extra 15 minutes flexibility in the morning will make life a lot easier for many commuters. Parents can relax knowing that their children will be taken to School Nursery and Primary School for 9am and collected at the end of each school day. The Classroom will be open until 6pm, again allowing parents time to get back from work without rushing.
Our Little Outdoor Classroom & Daycare will register children from 3 years, when they receive their ‘free hours’ from the Scottish Government. Currently 3+ year olds receive 600 hours of free childcare at School Nurseries, this translates as approximately 2.5 days per week, per year, during term time. In 2020, this is due to rise to 1,400 hours, which works out as 5 days per week, per year, during term time, which will be a fantastic help to many families. The hours will remain between 9am-3pm, as this is the school day, so the need for wrap-around childcare will increase as parents make the most of these ‘free hours’.
During the hours that the Classroom is open the children will be involved in a wide range of activities: playing in the garden, completing a puzzle, working on their homework, baking, attending to the animals or reading a magazine. The Classroom is a relaxed environment where children can take part in activities of all different energy-levels after a long day of nursery/school. It is a home-from-home. The only thing they can’t do is watch TV, play x-box or go on a mobile phone or iPad.
During the holidays the Classroom will be open from 7:30am to 6:00pm. The Classroom will be open during the Easter, Summer and October Holidays as well as bank holiday weekends and in-service days. However, it will be closed over the Christmas period. Extra places will be offered over the holiday periods, so if your child is not enrolled in the after-school care but you would like them to have a place during the holidays, please get in contact to request a place.
School Resource and Workshops
There has been a large amount of research in recent years surrounding children and the benefits of learning outdoors. Most organisations and education systems agree that children should spend as much time as possible outdoors. The benefits of which affect the child's education. Not just their understanding of the environment but research suggests that outdoor learning and play can actually improve their academic performance. A child's health and well-being is greatly improved by spending time learning outside of the classroom and their personal and social skills are enhanced developing a positive self-image, confidence in their abilities and resilience. But perhaps most importantly it encourages a lifelong love of the outdoors. The Scottish Government created an entire outcome of the new curriculum dedicated to learning outside of the classroom - 'A Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning'.
The Classroom has the facilities to welcome school groups of up to 30 children on an informal basis. Here you can use the space for your needs. This may be as a base, to make use of the facilities within the Classroom or as a resource. How you choose to use it is completely up to you.
In time, there will opportunities for school groups to use the Classroom for Outdoor Learning workshops and more information on that will be available in due course.