Working in a fully outdoor nursery is truly a job like no other. We often talk about the benefits to children (and rightly so!) But what you may not realise is that many of these benefits also apply to practitioners and those working in our environments.
Time in nature
Proven to reduce stress and anxiety and increase feelings of wellbeing, rather than typically noisy, chaotic indoor nursery spaces. As we spend 90% of our time outdoors we are getting these benefits over a sustained period of time.
The nature of working in an outdoor environment means you are constantly on the go and moving around. All EY practitioners are the same, outdoor nursery provides more physical challenge – uneven surfaces, weather, climbing, building, playing chase games – our practitioners enjoy all the health and well-being effects of being physically active all day.
There is also a lower rate of infection from common colds and general EY lurgies! Fewer surfaces and toys and lots of fresh air (and sunlight hopefully) mean that viruses and illnesses are not so easily spread – meaning we have fewer instances of related illness from working with children than perhaps our indoor colleagues.
Also mud is great for building immunity!
Diversity of colleagues
A ‘typical’ outdoor practitioner doesn’t really exist. Diversity of professional backgrounds: play, Forest School, outdoor adventurous activities, environmental sectors, not just early years. Furthermore no one approach or philosophy is considered better than another. All have strengths and weaknesses that help meet children’s care and learning needs outside.
This blend of expertise tends to work very well because of the outdoor nature of the job. When Early years practitioners alone are employed there’s a greater tendency to offer “indoor nursery” approaches. It is also the case that slightly higher numbers of men are represented in the workforce. This diversity allows us all to learn and grow together and from one another, while providing fantastic environments and care for our children.
Do cool stuff!
Now it would be unrealistic to say that every day is going to feel like your bank holiday camping trip! That being said working in our outdoor nurseries does mean you get to do and learn some pretty cool stuff as part of your job!
- Build fires
- Chop wood
- Make shelters – with tarps and natural materials
- Make swings
- Build semi permanent play structures
- Use tools
- Care for animals (no that’s not what we call the children…actual animals)
- Put up tents
- Identify nature items & tracks
- Cook on campfires & wood stoves
- Grow food
- Observe wildlife
- Site maintenance
There’s a definite sense of community within the outdoor nursery world. Whilst what we are doing is in some ways as old as time – learning alongside and from nature, it has also been somewhat ‘forgotten’ in our?:-) technological age until more recent years. Our families are advocates for what we do and nothing bonds a team quite like experiencing the seasons year round outdoors together – rain or shine (or snow and high winds!)
Our teams are forged from a collective of passionate practitioners, who recognise that we are stronger together than individually. Our families are our advocates and strongest supporters and you can expect many parents to feel a strong emotional bond to our settings; this was a considered choice for them.
Child centric, trauma informed, progressive approach
Stramash prides itself on our values, mission and remaining true to our vision – you can read more about it on our website here: https://stramash.org.uk/home/vision-mission-values/
We’ve already talked about the individuality of our practitioners and their skill sets, what unites us is our progressive, child centred, play rich approach. Quality, meaningful, learning rich interactions and creating nurturing, supportive environments for our children to thrive in is what gets us all out of bed in the morning!
Living wage employer
Whilst many in the childcare sector are still offering a basic salary of minimum wage, Stramash is a recognised living wage employer.
We are also a social enterprise so profits are reinvested into our business to ensure our sustainability.