Here at Schoolscapes we are dedicated to making outdoor learning fun and accessible to all children. We listen carefully both to teachers and to children to design the most engaging outdoor play equipment and to create stunning outdoor learning environments, where children naturally learn and develop through active play, investigation and discovery!
We are therefore very concerned about the global increase in short-sightedness in children, but at the same time pleased that we can support both parents and educators in protecting children’s vision. By being advocates for encouraging children to engage in increased outdoor play, they can reap the many benefits from fun in the sun.
Katherine Sellgren from BBC News, 28 December 2017 wrote an interesting article titled Why Spending Time Outdoors Could Help Your Child’s Eyesight and wrote that:
“Experts are concerned about growing levels of short-sightedness in children. And they suggest the best thing parents can do to prevent it is to encourage youngsters to spend more time outdoors in the sunlight.”
The Paediatric Information Group at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust support this view and wrote an information sheet in November 2017: Paediatric information: Myopia – Having short-sight, and stated that:
“There is evidence that spending less time outdoors increases children’s risk of developing short-sightedness and of it getting worse over time… We know that children of primary school age who spend less than 45 minutes a day outdoors have a higher risk of myopia than those spending two hours outdoors. It is probably a good idea to aim for an hour of outdoor activities a day, and two might be even better. At the moment, it is not clear exactly how being outdoors protects against short-sightedness. It could be linked with exposure to sunlight – scientists think that sunlight increases a chemical called dopamine in the retina (the seeing part at the back of the eye) which can affect eye growth.”
We understand that technology is a real part of today’s world and that kids love to use tablets and phones and realistically this is only going to increase into the future. However, if one of the main factors in increased short-sightedness appears to be lack of exposure to direct sunlight and children are getting less opportunity to run around in the sun, then we believe that providing a fun and stimulating outdoor provision will naturally encourage children to want to play outside more. Although all kids love technology, all kids love adventure and challenge too and we have fantastic extensive outdoor equipment ranges to suit every setting and budget, which support outdoor play. What’s more, our experienced and award-winning designers can help you to maximise the potential of your outdoor space and can transform or rejuvenate your play area.
Our innovative Little Movers Range is perfect for any Early Years Setting, with its portable, but challenging, mini outdoor adventure trail components. Get your little adventurers active outdoors and improve their language, communication and social skills, alongside increasing their problem solving, independence, resilience and developing their motor skills. What Early Years Practitioner would not want this versatile and top-quality resource at their fingertips? Let your children’s imagination run wild with a different active, outdoors environment as often as you like! Their adventures on board our Little Movers are limitless!
Children love our Play Towers and Adventure Trails. There is no stopping them from having fun and challenging themselves as they are packed with play opportunities. The main issue is actually getting them to stop! As one little girl said, when I was recently visiting their playground, “Can we go on our Treetops yet? Is it our turn yet?” She just was bursting to get busy and to get active! She really liked the fact that all her friends could play on it together and there were so many ways to get up and no waiting around. Her friends were even using their imaginations and incorporating the Play Tower into their playground games.
Our Outdoor Children’s Gym Equipment is specifically designed for young children and is another popular choice for educational settings; it is certainly a big hit with the children! In one school I recently visited, I saw a group of friends going so fast on the Gym Equipment that they were a blur! I thought they’d soon tire, but their enthusiasm and energy didn’t fall. They had obviously developed great stamina by regularly using this equipment. Taking exercise outside couldn’t be easier. These are a perfect resource for increased, active, playtime fun for P.E. lessons and even for an after-school club.
For children who love science and investigations our Planters, Bug Hotel, Observatory, Talking Tubes, Water Wall and Niagara Water Tray water chutes are perfect additions for any outdoor play space. For those children that are inspired by their creativity and imagination our Poly Painting Station and Sand Pendulum easily takes art and design outside and our extensive range of beautiful Outside Instruments will enable little fingers to naturally compose and create noise and music, exploring dynamics and pitch, all in the lovely direct sunlight. Who wouldn’t want to investigate music outside on our colourful, pitched outdoor Chimes, on our fun Tubano Drums or with our shiny, outdoor Cymbals?
We also have extensive Playground Markings and Activity Panels that can encourage children from EYFS, KS1 to KS2 to both learn and get active outside in the fresh air. These can be incorporated into any outdoor play space by our creative designers. Your dream play space can easily become reality sooner than you think!
So why not join our Schoolscapes team in our drive to protect children’s eye sight, by increasing outdoor learning, play and discovery in your setting? All learning can be effectively taken outside and who doesn’t enjoy a spot of sunshine and a breath of fresh air in their day? If being outdoors can bring learning alive and improve engagement and now we also know that it can protect children’s eyesight too, what’s stopping us from maximising our use of the best outdoor classroom, with no roof, under the ever-changing sky?