Early benefits of the open air

1st December 2000 at 00:00
YOUR report that early learning is being brought into the open (TES, November 17) is very welcome news indeed. Young children today walk less than ever, are fatter than ever and are more stressed than they should be.

What's more they do not spend nearly enough time outdoors. Serious concerns around children's physical and mental health were raised in recent reports by the British Medical Association, the British Heart Foundation and the Mental Health Foundation. Such concerns are shared by many early-year practitioners and parents.

Exercising muscles and minds - outdoor play and the eary years curriculum, by early childhood education consultant Marjorie Ouvry and published by the National Early Years Network, makes an important contribution to tackling the problem. Ouvry's book challenges the assumption that playing outdoors is an optional extra.

It should help dispel fears that the implementation of the foundation stage of the national curriculum may present yet another obstacle to the healthy physical development of three to five-year-olds.

Eva Lloyd

Chief executive

The National Early Years Network

77 Holloway Road

Holloway, London N7

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