What age children do you run clubs for ? The simple answer is roughly 18 months to around aged 11 (or maybe a little older if they really want to come, see below!) but it’s a little more complex than that and unfortunately, we cannot accommodate children in reception year (this includes the Summer holidays after reception) until they start year 1 in the September – see more on this below.

The simple bit for PRE-SCHOOL aged children:  Our Saplings parent & toddler group run from the time toddlers are confident walkers which is often around 18 months and extends up to 4 years old or the Summer before they start reception at school.

The trickier bit, PRIMARY SCHOOL YEAR 1 TO YEAR 6, and why:   Children in reception are unfortunately too young for our holiday and after school clubs.  The Outdoors Project is on the Compulsory & Voluntary Ofsted Childcare Register but NOT on the Early Years Register (which allows care for children from birth to 31st August after their 5th birthday). Ofsted came to visit us and commented that whilst our clubs were excellent, they pointed out that we seemed to have some younger children attending and as we are not on the Early Years Register we need to be strict about our age policy. We know that this can be really disappointing to parents, especially if an older sibling is at the club and the younger sibling is confident and would be happy to come but we need to follow the rule from Ofsted on this and based on delivering a fun day for all we are happy to comply.

All children are different and we know that some children may cope better than others, this depends on their character, if they play with older children at school, whether they have a sibling at home and other factors but there are others who need lots of reassurance in the reception age group and with our ratios, types of activities planned and upper age limit of 11, our instructors want to keep activities flowing for ALL kids in the group and offer appropriate support, this means they just aren't be able to spend lots of time with one child if they need a lot of extra support on the basics due to their young age. It effects the experience of that individual child & the others in the group and we want a happy time for all.

We know from past experience where reception age children have attended the club that many have difficulty ‘keeping up’, with some of the games we play, the social pace of the group and the physical aspects required to join in with the group activities.  

The holiday club days are long for children. Yes, our holiday clubs are shorter than a reception child’s school day but we keep our clubs 10-3pm for the year one and above children.  They are outdoors all day, there are instructions to follow throughout the day and some of the younger children struggle to keep up and this in turn affects the rest of the group.  

As much as we would like to there can be no exceptions to this age limit, the Ofsted guidance is very clear, but we really look forward to welcoming your children when they are in year one and aged five after the Summer holidays.  So, the first opportunity they will have to join us would be at an after-school club in year one (if they run in your school) or a holiday club in the October half term of year one.  It gives us such a buzz when the kids join us, chomping at the bit to get involved and they are on the whole normally completely ready, mature enough to get stuck in and they love it straight away. As parents we see the jump from reception to year one as a coming of age for children as they head into the “bigger part of school” and they grow up quickly that year.  

OLDER CHILDREN.  My child is 12 + can they come? Our core age group of kids around 7 - 10, that being said we are happy for slightly older children to come along.  We find that as they start secondary they sometimes want to be at clubs with older children and request to do a different kind of club. However, they are welcome if they want to come, that's the crucial bit here. Please do check with your early / pre teen to make sure that they are keen. A grumpy teen can really bring the energy down in a group of younger children and it doesn't work for anyone.  Please let the office know if you are booking on your older child we can get them involved in helping the instructor with organising or being a junior instructor for the day to give them a sense of responsibility. We had one child who loved our clubs so much he is now one of our instructors, anything is possible when kids are keen and want to be there.