A good quality service will give children daily access to natural pursuits, including exploring outdoors and growing plants amongst other activities. Some services may also have pets or links to animal charities. Parents could share their own interests with the service such as: helping if there is a garden, or helping look after plants etc.

Holiday services should include frequent access to new experiences for children; trips to city farms or rural locations and beaches. Although it is easier to take children on outings to parks and natural spaces during holidays, services should consider how they could facilitate these sorts of activities during term-time; this is especially important in urban settings where children only have access to tarmac or concrete play spaces.

Although still uncommon, there is a growing movement in outdoor childcare services and although most are for pre-school children there are 1 or 2 which are specifically for school age children. The outdoor kindergarten movement started in Scandinavia and in recent years has crossed over to Scotland. An outdoor childcare service will typically be based within woodland and will only access outdoor premises in extreme weather conditions- although shelter and heat (fire) will be available everyday.

Other services, although not registered as an outdoor childcare service may spend as much time as possible outdoors in natural settings and staff may have undertaken additional qualifications in forest schools.

last updated: 07/07/2023