If you are desperate to get your child to nap, why not settle them outside like this childcare does!?

A childcare centre in Perth has implemented an ‘outdoor sleeping policy’ after statistics appeared to show children who slept outside were less prone to falling ill.

Little Learners day care centre tracked the number of absences taken by children over an 11-week period from March.

During that time, fewer than one per cent of children were absent due to ‘winter-related’ illnesses – something Director Ken Scott-Hamilton put down to the amount of time they spend outdoors, reports Daily Mail.

‘We firmly believe that this statistic is a direct result of all of our children being outdoors more often and the older children (ages 2-5) sleeping outdoors more often, where they are able to breathe fresh air instead of being stuck inside with dry, recycled air that acts as an incubator which can allow the flu, virus and common colds to easily spread among the children,’ he said of the ‘phenomenal statistics’.

During the 11-week period, he said the centre had tracked changes in the health and wellbeing of the children as a result of sleeping outdoors more often.

‘We found that when the older children slept outdoors they slept longer, deeper and more serenely,’ Mr Scott-Hamilton said.

‘When they woke up they were significantly more refreshed, rested and rejuvenated than when they had slept inside.’

He said that, in addition, there had been a ‘significant improvement’ in their cognitive attentiveness, alertness and awareness when they had been sleeping outdoors, compared with sleeping inside.

‘It’s important to note that at all times the children are given a choice as to where they would like to sleep,’ he said.

‘Also, when the children do sleep outdoors it is under the watchful eyes of our highly trained professionals who are constantly and dynamically assessing the children and nature on a minute by minute basis.’

He added that whilst 11 weeks was a ‘comparatively short time’ the centre would continue to monitor absences caused by winter related illness, like colds and flu.

‘Due to the numerous ongoing significant benefits that we have seen regarding the older children sleeping outdoors and the support by all of our parents we have decided to implement effective immediately an outdoor sleeping policy,’ Mr Scott-Hamilton said.

The policy was implemented on an opt-out basis for children ages two to five years old and who require sleep at the centre, but does not apply to babies – who continue to sleep indoors.

‘I am sharing this research and the outdoor sleeping policy that we have created in the hope that it may inspire other early childhood centres to, where possible, trial this practice of sleeping outdoors on a regular basis as already occurs in other countries,’ Mr Scott-Hamilton said.

What do you think of this concept? Not sure it would work in Tassie!

Share your comments below

Image via Little Learners

  • that is a pretty cool idea in theory! the fresh air would be beneficial for them in so many ways and it’s enjoyable to be outside. the kids must think that it’s such a novel thing to do and i wonder if they ask their parents to be able to do this at their homes


  • The theory is good, is hard to put into practice in Tassie but never the less, good thinking with our kids well being at heart.


  • If your baby sleeps outdoors in a pram your baby is getting fresh air, possibly in a sheltered area and you can keep your pram clean. At Childcare Centres such as this how do they prevent the risk of spreading diseases. I’m not talking about the average cold or virus. Short of washing the bedding including the mattresses and groundcovers after every single use it is a very dangerous method. Mattresses not dried quickly enough can cause serious illnesses.


  • That looks cold. We nap anywhere but outside in the country surrounds with bird sounds is always best.


  • Great initiative. I think it’s important and good to spend as much as possible time outside for our kids and us adults too !


  • Nothing better than sleeping outside in the fresh air. Love this idea !


  • Hooray for this centre! I always had my babies sleep outside in their pram parked securely under one of our fruit trees during the day. They slept so much better at night and when they woke they would happily play or gaze at the moving leaves for a while before yelling for their meal. hardly ever sick. My mother always did that with me when we lived in London, so doubt even Melbourne would be that cold.


  • An interesting concept,maybe not for Melbourne though!


  • This obviously works better in some states more than others. Keen to see how it goes over a longer period of time


  • Pros and cons for me.
    I do like the idea of fresh air but creepy crawlies would worry me. ..and do hope there is shade cover from the sun.


  • I love that they were able to implement it so successfully. What a great idea.


  • If parents don’t like it then they don’t have to send their kids there. Simple.


  • Well, I hope they aren’t doing it now, because it’s raining quite hard lately here in Perth! :-)

    But I understand what they mean. My husband is Dutch, and as a child he used to always end his shower with a couple of minutes of cold shower. I think it’s the same concept.


  • reminds me of camping, cant wait for September holidays to come so we can go camping outside. funny that, I cant remember what country, I think it was Sweden or Norway, they leave their babies in the pram outside for the same reason. We are a little behind but at least this Is happening now. I have often liked to sleep outside as I like the gentle breeze on my face especially in warmer weather.


  • It’s a great idea for kids to have a nap in a fresh environment


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