Paddock Cottage Childcare in Bury has embraced outdoor naps. Eight children at the nursery now take their naps outdoors; nursery owner Hannah Rosalie said it seemed like an ‘obvious step’.
“I’ve always loved the outdoors and so have my own children, who always napped outside. They always slept well and were very healthy,” she said.
“I’m a Forest School practitioner and we follow a lot of these principles through our play and discovery. It seemed a natural next step for the babies to sleep outdoors too. I invested in some very good quality pushchairs which lay totally flat, some high quality sleeping bags and lots of thermal blankets.”
Hannah added that her family members in New Zealand were very supportive of the idea and that she has an aunt who believed in ‘al fresco’ naps.
Hannah insists there are huge benefits to sleeping outdoors: “It seems we are sadly losing this lovely method of daytime rest for babies.
“Followers of the Gina Ford method will be all too aware of the need for blackout blinds and silence, but really it’s so much more natural for babies to be rocked to sleep under the trees and wake to the sound of birdsong. Babies here sleep well, rarely cry when they are tucked in for a nap or when they wake, and several ask for a pushchair when they feel tired.
“Sleep is so important for babies and young children right up until the age of three or beyond. Naps are absolutely essential for children’s physical, emotional and cognitive development. For many children, naptime can be a very stressful time, especially in big nurseries so having positive sleep associations at an early age can lead to a lifetime of good sleep habits.”
“Numerous studies point towards quality sleep playing a significant part in brain development in children,” she added.
The setting offers outdoor sleeping and most of the day is spent outdoors in the garden or out and about in the village.
There are many activities the children enjoy like riverbank walks, playing on the huge fallen willow tree, collecting natural treasures, reading a story or having a picnic.
The children also learn about baking from scratch, using eggs from the pet chickens and harvesting homemade fruit and veg.
An open day is being held on 12th March, offering free play and coffee.