How to make the most of the outdoors to support learning outcomes More and more educators are considering alternative learning environments and the impact on the engagement and learning of children. As a result there has been more interest in the use of outdoor spaces as a learning ‘tool’. Why consider outdoor learning? It is a naturally stimulating environment that can improve focus and attention to enable children to better retain information: the fresh air and breeze is alerting; shoes […]

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Benefits, Options and the How To. The idea of giving children stools that wobble or chairs that rock seems counterintuitive to the desire for them to sit still and concentrate in class. Yet, that is exactly what happens when provided with flexible seating. The comfort of their physical environment frees up their brain to concentrate rather than being distracted by trying to get comfortable. Benefits include: Increases movement for physical activity; Calming as it provides sensory input and a way […]

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Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) facilities are in a very unique position in today’s society, in terms of offering uninterrupted, child led play experiences to children from a broad age range. In Australia, 453066 children attend OSHC. On average, a child attending OSHC will be there for 11.6 hours a week (2019, National Out of School Hours Care Alliance). Neighbourhoods used to be the playground of children, a place where children of all ages spent a large part of […]

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Despite the heavily researched and well documented integral role of play in the healthy development of children, good quality, true play experiences are increasingly rare in the lives of children today. Good quality, true play experiences are defined by Dr Jennifer Sturgess (2007) as: “an episode of activity that is child chosen and viewed as play by the child. Each play episode has some or all of the following descriptive characteristics – spontaneous, non-literal, pleasurable, flexible, means-oriented, intrinsically motivated, meaningful, […]

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Play is fundamental to all aspects of childhood and adolescent development. Why then does it currently feel so hard to uphold best practice in terms of supporting and facilitating real play experiences? This article will provide you with a model of play which can inform your practice to assist you in developing quality ‘real play’ experiences for children. It will empower you to advocate for the importance of play in children’s lives and the resultant benefits. The Sandcastle Model of […]

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At Jump Up Outdoors there is a hill. The Hill is the quickest but not the easiest path to our play area and to the ovals and paddocks where we venture to explore. The Hill is steep, has loose dirt coupled with patches of long grass. Over time, the grass on The Hill has been worn down, foot holes have been dug and a rope has been tied to the tree branch at the top of The Hill to help […]

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Rules are designed to keep our children safe and allow our services to operate in an orderly manner. However, many who have worked in the sector for some time now have seen a shift over the years from common sense rules to stifling restrictions on both children and staff that alter the healthy development of the children we are supposed to be nurturing. Currently many of us asked to enforce rules that we intuitively know are not in the best […]

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When the sensory information that the brain receives does not get organised or processed efficiently, three main clusters of behaviours are generally observed – sensory defensive, sensory seeking and sensory under-responsive. It is important to keep in mind that each person’s response to sensory information is unique and although it may be different to the typical or expected response, it is a real response or reaction for that person and should be acknowledged as such. For example, if a child’s […]

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In part one of this blog we looked at sensory processing and how it helps each of us respond in our day to day environments.   The following strategies are just a few considerations in the development of a sensory friendly classroom. Provide a period of sensory input and movement directly before a period of focus and concentration. If you have planned a 20 minute lesson, aim to provide 2-3 minutes of targeted sensory input before it starts. Finish regulating […]

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You look up from your lesson to see… someone pulling their shirt tightly over their knees and then rocking slowly from side to side… someone chewing on the collar of their new shirt, the third for this year and it’s only term 2… someone slumped forward with their head propped up in their hands… someone pulling their socks apart thread by thread… someone looking out the window at the children from the next door class walking by…someone wriggling around while […]

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