The Irish Times recently carried an article titled: Preschools without walls: why children need outdoor play.  Too much screen-time and inactivity, it says, is depriving young people of vital lifeskill.  It begins like this:

“Every generation winces when the previous one recalls how much better life was in their day.  But one thing everyone remembers is playing outside as a child.  If current trends are anything to go by, however, outdoor play could soon be a thing of the past as modern children spend more and more time glued to TV and computer screens or playing indoors because their parents are worried for their safety.  This not only adds to our growing problem of obesity but also limits the developmental scope for children who, according to experts, need to spend time connecting with the outside world every day.”

You can read it here.

The background will be familiar, but there’s a feature within it on the Nature Kindergarten at Kilruddery.  This is set entirely outdoors and even in wet or cold weather, the children are wrapped up and continue to play, explore and crucially, develop outside.  Sarah Quinn, who has been working with Park Academy Childcare, which runs Nature Kindergarten, says society prohibits children from learning and exploring in ways which are crucial to their development and this is why it is important to encourage more outdoor play, regardless of the weather forecast.  “The children are outside all year – hail, rain or snow,” she says. “We have a cosy log cabin with a fire burner where they eat their meals on the colder days.”