CHANGE Bulletin 17th November 2017

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CHANGE Weekly Bulletin 17th November 2017

The Childcare Landscape Part 3 – Outdoor Play and Service Expansion

In the third part of our series looking at the evolving childcare landscape in Scotland, we focus on some of the best practice documents available from the Care Inspectorate that relate to outdoor play and the expansion of services.

 

Background

One of the objectives of the CHANGE project is to develop a plan for the expansion and development of childcare services in Glasgow East. In doing so we are helped immensely by the wide range of best practice documents available on the Care Inspectorate’s hub.  In this week’s bulletin we look at two key documents that will help inform our project work in relation to outdoor provision and service expansion.

 

My World Outdoors

Published in 2016, My World Outdoors provides childcare services and the families who use them with an understanding of how children can benefit from outdoor play and opportunities to explore the natural environment around them.  The document begins by highlighting the number of outdoor-based services receiving grades of ‘Excellent’ during inspections carried out by the Care Inspectorate.  For example, in August 2015, 17% of outdoor-based services had received this grade for Care and Support, Environment and Staffing compared to national averages for other services of between 3% and 6% in these quality themes. This appears to be a clear indication that the use of outdoor space has allowed services to improve their overall quality and provide better outcomes for the children and families who use them.

As with some of the other documents available on the hub, My World Outdoors is linked to Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC), the Scottish Government framework for supporting the wellbeing of children. Each of the eight wellbeing indicators from GIRFEC has its own section within My World Outdoors where the Care Inspectorate states their expectations of registered services. This is expanded on by providing specific examples of good practice from a range of services, including some that are not required to be registered as a formal childcare service.

CHANGE has carried out some initial exploration in relation to outdoor provision and how this might work in our project area. Glasgow East is reasonably well served in terms of green space and many childcare providers in the area already make use of local parks. With this in mind, CHANGE is keen to explore the use of this space, and possibly other locations that are suitable for outdoor play, as we move forward. We expect My World Outdoors to play a key role in informing this.

My World Outdoors is available here.

 

Space to Grow

The publication of Space to Grow – Design guidance for early learning and childcare and out of school care settings in June of this year could have huge significance for the CHANGE work. Although the document is 101 pages long it is very easy to navigate using a web browser and provides a vast amount of guidance for the design and expansion of childcare services. The discussion on how to successfully expand services is of particular interest to the work being done by CHANGE.

You may recall from some of our earlier bulletins that our community engagement activities during the first year of CHANGE identified some key themes in relation to what families want from childcare services. Three of these – flexibility, accessibility and affordability – are featured in the introduction of Space to Grow as objectives within the Scottish Government’s expansion plans for early learning and childcare. This provides a key link between the work of CHANGE and what is being done nationally to improve and expand childcare.

The document itself is similar to My World Outdoors in that it provides both clear expectations for services and specific examples from case studies of how design and expansion of services can be carried out effectively. There is an emphasis placed on innovation and creative use of space. Case studies include the use of outdoor space, mezzanine levels and the installation of modular buildings or ‘pods’ to increase service capacity and improve the overall experience available for children. In year two of CHANGE we will be exploring a range of possibilities for expansion and in this respect Space to Grow will be of great assistance to the project team.

Space to Grow is available here.