Here’s a selection from a round up of recent evidence and reports, policy agenda developments, large scale delivery sector initiatives, resources and news items issued by the partnership of Natural England with The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom and Historic England on behalf of and for the Strategic Research Groups.

The Possibilities of “Doing” Outdoor and/or Adventure Education in Physical Education/Teacher Education
S Sutherland, M Legge – Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 2016
Physical education has a long association with teaching outdoor and/or adventure education (OAE). This manuscript; explores and critiques a range of national and international perspectives on models based practices in OAE; challenges what stands for teaching OAE in PETE; and offers suggestions for future practice and research.

Elemental Play and Outdoor Learning: Young children’s playful connections with people, places and things
A Woods – Book 2016
Providing a fresh approach to examining development in the early years, this book draws together well-established ideas and theories based on outdoor play experiences and connects them to spiritual development in children

Taking the First Steps Outside: Under threes learning and developing in the natural environment
H Bilton, G Bento, G Dias – Book 2016
Can one be too young to play outside? This unique and compelling book charts the
experiences of a group of under-three-year-olds as they explore their natural outdoor
environment, followed by caring and attentive adults

Early intervention providers’ experiences and perceptions of natural environments
KM Stimpson – Thesis 2016
Misunderstanding of the term natural environment has led to early intervention providers having varied perceptions of natural environments as well as their professional role in these natural environments. Additionally, early intervention providers have varied educational backgrounds, experiences, and training that can affect their perceptions of natural environments. The purpose of of this study was to examine early intervention providers’ experiences and perceptions related to natural environments. Results suggested providers have concerns related to a clear definition of natural learning environments. Furthermore, the findings indicated that professionals have a desire to provide services in natural learning environments, but numerous challenges were identified within implementation of services.

WHO report: Urban green spaces and health – a review of evidence (2016)
Including section authored by Catharine Ward Thompson
A new WHO report summarizing evidence on the health effects of green space in urban areas shows that green spaces offer numerous public health benefits, including psychological relaxation and stress reduction, enhanced physical activity and a potential reduction in exposure to – among other harmful urban factors – air pollution, noise and excessive heat.

How might contact with nature promote human health? Promising mechanisms and a possible central pathway
MingKuo. Frontiers in Psychology
This article offers: (1) a compilation of plausible pathways between nature and health; (2) criteria for identifying a possible central pathway; and (3) one promising candidate for a central pathway.

Joy and Calm: How an Evolutionary Functional Model of Affect Regulation Informs Positive Emotions in Nature
Miles Richardson et al. Evolutionary Psychological Science
Shows how time in nature regulates emotions and the heart, applying a model that hasn’t been used in this context before. Miles’ blog explains further.

Greener cities and more exercise could dramatically reduce urban mortality rates
European Commission
Researchers have estimated that, annually, almost 3 000 deaths (i.e. 20% of mortality) in Barcelona, Spain, are premature, and would be preventable if residents lived in urban environments that met international exposure recommendations for physical activity, air pollution, noise, heat and access to green spaces.

Critical view into pupils’ experience of Education Outside the Classroom (EotC) and Well-being
AH Jensen et al- 7th International Outdoor Education Research Conference, 2016
There is a lack of research on pupils’ own assessment of their subjective well-being, as an indication of how pupils perceive EotC. Five academically strong and five academically challenged pupils were sampled on the basis of their test results in reading and math. This study is still in process, but based on the few studies investigating well-being in outdoor learning environment, we expect that EOtC is positively experienced among all pupils corresponding with greater well-being. However, we could also expect that among academically challenged pupils, a more unstructured activity based learning environment may lead to reduced well-being, which could also count for academically strong pupils seeing EOtC as a distraction or waste of time.

 

A quasi-experimental cross-disciplinary evaluation of the impacts of education outside the classroom on pupils’ physical activity, well-being and learning: the TEACHOUT study protocol
Nelsen Et al.  BMC Public Health
Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) is a teaching method that aims to promote schoolchildren’s learning, physical activity (PA), social relations, motivation, and well-being. The TEACHOUT study aims to evaluate the impacts of EOTC on Danish schoolchildren’s PA, social relations, motivation, well-being, and learning.