Little Learners tracked the number of absences recorded over a period of 11 weeks from March.
According to director Ken Scott-Hamilton, during that period, fewer than one per cent of children were absent due to “winter-related” illnesses, which he puts down to how much time they spend outdoors.
The daycare centre posted photos of the children having their naps outside to their Facebook page, along with a link explaining the benefits of sleeping outdoors.
‘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.
The director added that older children sleeping outdoors tend to “sleep longer, deeper and more serenely”.
He also found significant improvements in their cognitive attentiveness, alertness and awareness.
Children attending Little Learners are given the choice as to where they want to sleep.
The policy is currently implemented on an opt-out basis for children aged two to five years old. It does not apply to babies.
“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, the director added.
The daycare says it will continue monitoring the children’s attendance and health records.
Source: NZ Herald