Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on reopening early learning and childcare services

Non-statutory guidance for early learning and childcare (ELC) providers in the local authority, private and third sectors to support a safe reopening of these settings during Phase 3.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on reopening early learning and childcare services
Outdoor spaces

Maximising use of outdoor spaces

Evidence suggests that outdoor environments can limit transmission, as well as more easily allowing for appropriate physical distancing between children, and staff should consider how they can safely maximise the use of their outdoor space.

Given that the risks of transmission are much lower outdoors, ELC provision should maximise opportunities for outdoor play and activities. If outdoor equipment is being used, settings should ensure that multiple groups of children do not use it simultaneously, as well as considering appropriate cleaning between groups of children using it. For outdoor sandpits or mud kitchens staff should clean equipment children use in these activities between use by groups of children.

Staff should plan for children to enjoy active energetic play across the day and this may include making use of other areas near to the service   Within any public spaces staff should be aware at all times of the need to keep children distanced from any other children who are not part of the setting, or other adults who may be in the vicinity.

Staff should take the necessary precautions to protect children from the elements and this should include suitable clothing, head coverings and sunscreen. Advice on sun safety is available from the NHS.

Guidance to promote high quality learning and play experiences for children outdoors is available from the Care Inspectorate.


First published: 30 Jul 2020 Last updated: 30 Jul 2020 -