It’s Children’s Week from 19 to 27 October, a time to focus on the right of children to enjoy childhood.
Celebrating the rights, talents and achievements of children is at the heart of how Lollipop Early Learning Centre operates.
One small but significant way this is practised each day is during nap time when children at Lollipop can decide where they sleep. Most choose fresh air.
“The children really enjoy sleeping outside,” explained Lollipop Centre Manager Nishi Chatley.
“And we have observed that the children sleeping outdoors tend to sleep longer, deeper and more serenely.”
Outdoor naps are believed to help children as the colder air helps them sleep longer. Children who nap outdoors are also more exposed to nature and get to look at swaying branches or the sky while they are falling asleep, which can have a calming effect.
“We discussed the program with staff and families, and since starting the program nine months ago we have seen substantial improvements in the children’s cognitive concentration, awareness and alertness during the day.
“The children are happy, focused and resilient,” Ms Chatley said.
Each day up to up to 25 children head out for a nap from 12:30 pm. They lay their mattress in the shade and cover themselves with blankets. They can sleep for up to two hours – longer than if they’re napping inside.
“We have also noticed a significant reduction in the number of children absent due to seasonal illnesses this year. We strongly believe that this reduction is a direct result of all of our children being outdoors more often,” Ms Chatley said.
Being in an outdoor environment is thought to reduce illness due to decreased exposure to germs circulating in enclosed spaces.
Lollipop Early Learning Centre is situated in the heart of the Woden Valley, often engaging in local activities and events, and providing a high-quality childcare service for babies and children up to five years of age.
“Today’s generation is often stuck inside more, due to our busy lives and being on mobiles, TV and tablets. At Lollipop, we do our best to provide our little people with what they might be missing,” said Ms Chatley.
“When I was their age, I used to sleep outside. It was so refreshing and calming. And I have done the same with my children when they were young.
“There’s a wonderful Norwegian saying – Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlig klær! – which translates to ‘there is no bad weather, only bad clothes!’ I totally agree!
“It is great to see the positive outcomes we are getting through the outdoor sleeping program.”
A culturally diverse community makes up the families at Lollipop, a centre that promotes individual learning and social development.
Lollipop Early Learning Centre, a much-loved institution in the community, has places for long day care and occasional care.
For bookings or general enquiries, contact 02 6234 6886 or email [email protected].
Original Article published by Woden Community Service on The RiotACT.
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