This month we have introduced outdoor sleeping for our Under 2's.
Outdoor sleeping is practised within Nordic Countries where most day care centres encourage it even in sub zero temperatures and here in the UK, it was common practise in the 1950's when most babies slept outside in prams, while their mothers did chores or collected groceries. At Great Wood Farm a Sleep Hut has been specially constructed with a mosquito net which can be pulled over the front of the Hut to protect the children from insects. Parents can elect for their child to either sleep in a pushchair within the Hut or on a deluxe rest cot bed or to remain inside for their nap. The cot beds are mats which are slightly raised off the ground which ensures the child remains warm and dry and parents can then provide bedding from home so the child can still get their home comfort if they so wish.
Kate Robinson, Manager , "There is a slowly growing trend within early years to develop outdoor sleeping in nurseries, going back to how things use to be with the added balance of health and safety. I have seen this in practise whilst on a study tour in Sweden where it is the cultural norm and I would like to see it practised more in this country if the environment suits it. As we are based on a working farm, we have a strong outdoor ethos, although we have always gone on walks through the woods with babies where they have often fallen asleep, developing the Sleep Hut goes that one step further." Outdoor sleeping has been shown to have a number of benefits including a better nights sleep and less illness. Other benefits with outdoor sleeping are that when children are exposed to nature they fall asleep while experiencing natural stimulation, such as trees swaying or birds flying, which can have a calming effect. They are also better at napping anywhere when they are older, as they are used to natural sounds so are less easily awoken.