In January the children from the Snugglepots began to sleep outside. Many cultures around the world already sleep outside so we thought that we would give it a try.
Norwegian families practice sleeping outside from about 2 weeks old. It is believed that by the children sleeping outside there is an increased level of activity in the child after they sleep and they tend to eat more. Norwegians believe that cold air exposure decreases their child’s chance of catching an illness, as well as the child actually sleeping for longer periods, and being more settled when they are sleeping.
Our Snugglepots room started with 3 children sleeping outside. The children came inside after eating lunch and then the last 3 children helped put the blankets down and get their beds ready.
The children slept for about 30 minutes longer than what they would have if they sleeping inside. Different children have slept outside on three more occasions and we have found that the children really benefit from it.
Nineteenth-century philosopher Henry David Thoreau believed that sleeping outside connects you to nature, the external relationship with the Earth and environment has healing properties that can only be accessed by connecting to nature and sleeping outside. He encouraged children and adults who have anxiety and depression to go camping, recharging themselves and basking in the natural airs that surround them.
Sleeping outside is linked to the Victorian Early Years Learning Frameworks through the following outcomes:
|Early Years Learning Framework|
|Outcome 1 Identity
Children have a strong sense of identity. Children feel safe, secure and supported.
|Outcome 3 Wellbeing
Children have a strong sense of wellbeing. Children become strong in their social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Children take increasing responsibility for their own health and physical wellbeing.
|Outcome 4 Learning
Children are confident and involved learners. Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflectivity. Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, inquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating. Children transfer and adapt what they have learnt from on context to another. Children resource their own learning through connecting with people, place, technologies and natural and processed materials.