The Green Desk

Seating & Spaces Outdoors to Observe and Just Be

Are bench swings or gliders OK to use in child care?

Can we hang a traditional one under our covered porch area? We really like the idea that adults and children could use it together, read stories or rock etc.

From the North Carolina Rated License Assessment Project:

For the ERS assessment process, bench swings and gliders are not considered gross motor equipment and do not require resilient surfacing. However, close supervision is required to ensure that children use them safely. The larger swings sometimes cause problems with crowding and children pushing the heavier seat into another child, knocking each other over, etc., so supervision and placement of these swings should be considered.

From the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education:

The weight of the swing is licensing’s biggest concern, either with an adult swinging on one and kids running behind and being hit, or with one child pushing a swing and getting it started swinging and it hitting another child. For a typical porch swing/glider on a deck we would not expect mulch, but the other issues could present possible concerns.

From the North Carolina Children’s Environmental Health Branch:

This would not be an environmental health issue.

Overview from the North Carolina Outdoor Learning Environments Alliance:

Seating outdoors can provide a space for a child to observe others and take a rest from active play. A small bench for two can be a space for a child to be alone or with one friend for a quiet moment. We often think of outdoor time as time when children should be physically active and it is great for that purpose. A well designed outdoor space is rich in play and learning opportunities, always holds the possibility for physically active play but also spaces for relaxing, observing, choosing to be alone or together with a friend. Seating can be simple, such as a stump, a log, a blanket, or it can be a bench or chair. Placed by a bed of rosemary or colorful garden, a seating space could be fragrant and offer much to observe as birds and butterflies visit the plants.

This post is from a series of FAQ about child care outdoor learning environment regulations in North Carolina. Please see the intro post, here, for more information.