What does the research say about Outdoor Learning? This section provides summaries of key findings from reviews of research and major studies in Outdoor Learning. The overall impact of these collections of research studies is impressive.
The following article was originally published on our website in late Young Children's Relationship with Nature: In child care settings, playgrounds typically have manufactured climbing equipment, and other than sometimes-manicured grass, are devoid of nature and vegetation.
Playground design also reflects a lack of understanding of how quality outdoor play environments can provide children rich educational opportunities, particularly in the area of social skills and environmental learning Evan Roger Hart, a noted developmental psychologist, attributes much of the problem to an underestimation of the importance of play to children; that it is considered discretionary rather than essential to child development, and that this misguided concept of play has trickled down into the play areas we create for children, resulting in lackluster environments with little value Shell Human nature itself has also helped perpetuate this design paradigm, simply because we are creatures of our experience.
Our common experiences usually shape the conventional wisdom, or paradigms, by which we operate. When most adults were children, playgrounds were asphalt areas with manufactured, fixed playground equipment such as swings, jungle gyms and slides, used solely for recess.
Therefore, most adults see this as the appropriate model for a playground. The cultivation of plants and the domestication of animals allowed our ancestors to dwell in permanent settlements, to expand their population more rapidly, thus beginning a long, sad divorce from nature Manning But even until very recent history, children still grew up with intimate contact with nature.
Throughout most of history, when children were free to play, their first choice was often to flee to the nearest wild place—whether it was a big tree or brushy area in the yard or a watercourse or woodland nearby Pyle Two hundred years ago, most children spent their days surrounded by fields, farms or in the wild nature at its edges.
But even then, as recently aschildren had access to nature and the world at large. Children had the freedom to play, explore and interact with the natural world with little or no restriction or supervision.
Children today have few opportunities for outdoor free play and regular contact with the natural world. Fears of ultraviolet rays, insect-born diseases and various forms of pollution are also leading adults to keep children indoors Wilson Brooks says that a childhood of unsupervised loitering, wandering and exploring has been replaced by a childhood of adult supervised and scheduled improvements.
Childhood and regular unsupervised play in the outdoor natural world are no longer synonymous Wilson Between andthe amount of time children ages 6 to 8 in the U. The virtual is replacing the real Pyle TV, nature documentaries, National Geographic and other nature TV channels and environmental fundraising appeals are conditioning children to think that nature is exotic, awe-inspiring and in far, far away, places they will never experience Chipeniuk Children are losing the understanding that nature exists in their own backyards and neighborhoods, which further disconnects them from knowledge and appreciation of the natural world.
The alternative to future generations who value nature is the continued exploitation and destruction of nature. One of the main problems with most environmental education is premature abstraction, teaching children too abstractly.
One result of trying to teach children at too early of an age about abstract concepts like rainforest destruction, acid rain, ozone holes and whale hunting can be dissociation.
When we ask children to deal with problems beyond their cognitive abilities, understanding and control, they can become anxious, tune out and develop a phobia to the issues.
In the case of environmental issues, biophobia—a fear of the natural world and ecological problems—a fear of just being outside—can develop. But if love comes first, knowledge is sure to follow. We need to allow children to develop their biophilia, their love for the Earth, before we ask them to save it.
Young children tend to develop emotional attachments to what is familiar and comfortable for them Wilson The child develops biophobia that can range from discomfort and fear in natural places to a prejudice against nature and disgust for whatever is not manmade, managed or air-conditioned CohenBixler, et al.
Regular positive interactions within nature help children develop respect and a caring attitude for the environment. Young children feel a natural kinship with, and are implicitly drawn to animals and especially baby animals RosenSobel Animals are an endless source of wonder for children, fostering a caring attitude and sense of responsibility towards living things.
Children interact instinctively and naturally with animals, talk to them, and invest in them emotionally Sobel These new naturalized play environments do not depend on manufactured equipment.
Rather than being built, they are planted—they use the landscape and its vegetation and materials as both the play setting and the play materials.Sustainable development education and outdoor learning 26 Fostering creativity through learning outdoors 30 Outdoor education Lecturer, edinburgh university People Time Activity Place learners.
the quality of learning and teaching is of paramount importance regardless of the place in which it occurs. Young Children's Relationship with Nature: Its Importance to Children's Development and the Earth's Future Missouri-based firm that specializes in the design of children’s indoor and outdoor learning, play and leisure environments.
The importance of outdoor learning and the beliefs that it contributes to children’s development and progress date back to Rousseau () and Froebel (). These beliefs have been continued, explored and researched in depth with new emphasis being placed on .
The importance of outdoor learning and the beliefs that it contributes to children’s development and progress date back to Rousseau () and Froebel ().
These beliefs have been continued, explored and researched in depth with new emphasis being placed on . With the desire of offering a different educational response to young children and acknowledging the importance of the outdoors for learning and development, a Portuguese early childhood a Portuguese early childhood centre took the initiative of implementing an innovative outdoor education project, going against the tendency of keeping children.
Naturalized outdoor play spaces are rich learning environments for all age children. They contain a hidden curriculum that speaks to children through their special way of knowing nature. Every learning center and activity that can be created in the indoor classroom can be created in the outdoors.