Play and learning outdoors: engaging with the natural world using forest school in the UK

Austin, C, Knowles, Z, Richards, K, McCree, M, Sayer, J and Ridgers, N (2015) 'Play and learning outdoors: engaging with the natural world using forest school in the UK.' In: Skelton, T, Nairn, K and Kraftl, P, eds. Space, place, and environment. Geographies of children and young people (3). Springer. ISBN 9789814585903

Official URL: https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.10...

Abstract

Natural play occurs when children explore and enjoy the natural environment through their freely chosen play (Natural England 2014. Natural England: Childhood and nature: A survey on changing relationships with nature across generations). This chapter will discuss natural play as an approach to outdoor learning and examine its role in children’s cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development using examples from research. The chapter will acknowledge the current decline in natural play opportunities for children in the UK, compared with that of previous generations, and describe how promoting natural play through Forest Schools has been shown as a promising strategy to resolve this issue. Forest Schools offer “all ages regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence through hands-on learning in a woodland environment” (Murray and O’Brien 2005. Such enthusiasm – a joy to see: An evaluation of Forest School in England, p. 11. http://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/website/forestresearch.nsf/ByUnique/INFD-6HKEMHS. Accessed 27 July 2014). The ethos, implementation, and outcomes of Forest Schools in the UK are outlined with supporting evidence. Finally, future directions will be described for natural play within Forest Schools as an approach for facilitating children’s engagement with the natural environment. Reflections on recent programs and recommendations for future delivery strategies and implications for research will be also discussed.

Item Type: Book Chapter or Section
Note:

Springer has classed the volume to which the chapter belongs as a Living Reference Work, which means it may be updated over time.

Keywords: natural play, forest school, children, natural environments, outdoor learning
Divisions: Institute for Education
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2018 10:19
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2018 10:19
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