Here’s more from a round up of evidence and reports, policy agenda developments, large scale delivery sector initiatives, resources and news items. This supports the Strategic Research Network for Learning in Natural Environments and Outdoors for All to develop better coherence and collaboration in research and to improve links between research, policy and practice in these areas:
Wellbeing in school gardens — The case of the Gardens for Bellies food and environmental education program
Dyg & Wistoff, – Environmental Education Research
Researchers in Denmark explored the role of the outdoor environment in a school garden program on children’s well-being. They found that nature in and around the school garden promoted positive emotions, interpersonal well-being, self-esteem, and pro-social behaviour, including expressions of empathy and cooperation.
The role of ‘pracademics’ in education and development of adventure sport professionals
L Collins, DJ Collins – Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning
This paper conceptualises the interaction between theory and practice in the context of the education of outdoor professionals. We identify issues specific to the often separated worlds of practice and academia. While acknowledging those distinct skills and competencies, however, we also explore a mid-role; that of the ‘pracademic’ or scientist–practitioner or practioner scholar, considering behaviours that may encourage greater collaborative work to inform the process and implementation of the education of outdoor professionals.
Integrating field-trip activities with other activities in the preschool curriculum: its effects on the preschoolers’ social–emotional skills
E Kızıltaş, R Sak – International Journal of Child Care and Education
This study was designed to investigate how the social–emotional skill development of 36 Turkish children aged 48–66 months was affected by the integration of field-trip activities with other activities in their preschool curriculum. The pretest scores of the experimental and control groups were not significantly different, whereas their posttest scores indicated a significant positive effect of field-trip activities on the social–emotional skills of children in the experimental group. A follow-up test administered 12 weeks after the posttest found that these positive effects persisted.
The Palgrave International Handbook of Women and Outdoor Learning
Edited by Tonia Gray and Denise Mitten
This Handbook serves as a starting point for critical analysis and discourse about the status of women in outdoor learning environments (OLEs). They enter outdoor learning primarily on the strength of their enthusiasm for leading and teaching in natural environments and assume the field is inclusive, rewarding excellence regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic status, disability, or ethnicity. However, both research and collective experiences in OLEs suggest that many women feel invisible, relegated, marginalized, and undervalued. In response to this marginalization, this Handbook celebrates the richness of knowledge and practices of women practitioners in OLEs.
Wild Pedagogies: Six Initial Touchstones for Early Childhood Environmental Educators
Jickling et al – Australian Journal of Environmental Education
This article is a small piece of a much larger and still evolving project. Herein we focus on six touchstones for wild pedagogies. The article begins with a short orientation to the larger ideas behind the project and then focuses on exploring six current touchstones with a view towards early childhood environmental educators. The six explored here are: (1) agency and the role of nature as co-teacher; (2) wildness and challenging ideas of control; (3) complexity, the unknown, and spontaneity; (4) locating the wild; (5) time and practice; and (6) cultural change.
Tree cover and species composition effects on academic performance of primary school students
Sivarajah, Smith & Thomas – PLOS ONE
Researchers examined potential effects of tree cover and species composition on the performance of students from 387 Toronto schools. They found that the proportion of tree cover (as distinct from other types of green space) was a significant predictor of academic performance, especially for children in socio-economically challenged schools. Species composition also made a difference on math test results
Mistakes, risk, and learning in outdoor education
S Cure, A Hill, V Cruickshank – Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education
Creating opportunities for students to learn from mistakes through effective feedback is key to raising achievement. Yet in traditional outdoor education, where risky activities are often a central feature, the role of mistakes in the teaching and learning process has seldom been examined. This paper explores how secondary outdoor education teachers perceive the notion that mistakes are the essence of learning, and how they view the role that mistakes have in the learning processes in their outdoor education programs. Employing a qualitative approach, the findings of this study emphasise teachers’ beliefs that mistakes are indeed important in the learning process. The inclusion of mistakes and feedback in outdoor education programs is, however, less than clear.
Locating the Educator in Outdoor Early Childhood Education
K Dawson, AE Beattie – Australian Journal of Environmental Education
We tell the story of an experience Kate Dawson, her students, and three eagles had at an outdoor preschool. The experience profoundly affected Kate, and prompted us to ask the following questions: What made this experience feel so magical, and what caused it to happen? Why are these magical moments valuable, and how might they impact our pedagogical practices? We posit that magical moments in outdoor early childhood education depend upon relational and pathic knowledge, and understanding of place, rather than intellectual or cognitive knowledge about place. We suggest conditions and practices educators may employ to foster magical moments.
The Engagement Tree: Arts-based Pedagogies for Environmental Learning
S Davis. International Journal of Education & the Arts
This case study reports on an arts-based project that sought to engage primary-school children in learning about their local environment through significant trees. Findings drawn from student reflective responses and focus group interviews identified various triggers for engagement. These included excursions and outdoor activities framed by arts-based processes.