Announcement posted by Nido Early School 02 Dec 2019
Putting babies and toddlers outside for their daily rest is a well-established routine in many Scandinavian countries - even when temperatures plummet well below zero.
It’s said to have significant benefits and while the Scandinavians have long believed that outdoor naps are essential for the health and hearty development of their young children, it seems that Australians are starting to embrace the idea too.
The theory behind sleeping outdoors is that exposing young children to fresh air is good for their overall health and wellbeing.
At Nido Early School centres, fresh air naps are standard practice. Of course, the staff takes safety very seriously and great care is taken to make sure that the conditions are appropriate, that children have the appropriate clothing, bedding and sunscreen if necessary and that they have appropriate supervision.
Nido Early School says their motivation for putting the children outside for al fresco naps is huge.
“We believe children get a better sleep and they sleep for longer,” says Nadia Wilson-Ali of Nido Early School. “Children who sleep outdoors are also healthier. Because the children spend less time in enclosed spaces, their exposure to germs is decreased which means they have fewer colds and bugs. Plus they learn to nap anywhere, which is a real life skill as they get older.
“Of course, safety is a priority but provided the area is secure, it’s not raining and there’s no risk from animals, there’s no reason why children can’t sleep outdoors especially when the benefits are so significant,” she added.
In Norway, Sweden and Finland, it’s common for babies and young children to sleep outside - even in the depths of their freezing, snowy winters. Most daycare centres there put children to rest outdoors and you see prams on pavements outside shops and cafes everywhere. It’s part of their culture.
The internationally renowned Norwegian obstetrician, Dr Gro Nylander attested in her best-selling book Becoming a Mother that looking at the sky or swaying branches has a calming effect on babies and toddlers when they’re falling asleep. Dr Nylander is acknowledged around the world as a voice of reason in child-rearing and her book combines modern research with personal experience to give new mothers sensible and practical advice and strategies.
Exposure to nature is also a key factor in Nido Early School’s approach to childhood learning and education and it’s one of the reasons behind their move to outdoor nap time. Their centres are inspired by Reggio Emilia which adheres to the principle of the physical environment being the ‘third teacher’, stimulating the children’s imaginations, creativity, exploration, discovery, engagement and their sense of wonder.
The rows of sleeping littlies under the watchful and caring eyes of their highly trained professionals at Nido Early School centres speak volumes about the benefits of outdoor napping. Calm, quiet and peaceful, it’s a restorative atmosphere that benefits both the children and those who watch over them.
“The change of season usually means extra bugs going around our centres, but we find that a nap in the fresh air does a lot of good keeping the nasties at bay,” said Wilson-Ali. “The benefits of outdoor naps are so significant and everyone loves them, so there’s every reason to continue the practice - provided parents agree.”
For more information about Nido Early School early learning centres, please visit .