This post sets out links to the most recent 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.

The empowering variability of affordances of nature: Why do exercisers feel better after performing the same exercise in natural environments than in indoor environments?
D Araújo, E Brymer, H Brito, R Withagen, K Davids – Psychology of Sport and Exercise

  • The specific impact of Health Enhancing Physical Activity in nature’s environments benefits from a person-environment system’s theoretical perspective.
  • In such a transactional perspective, psychological processes incorporate aspects of the environment.
  • Nature’s affordances are less constrained than manufactured affordances.
  • The natural environment, due to its variability, solicits embodied and embedded actions.
  • Exerciser-nature interactions can be modulated by skill when solicited by affordances of nature.

Green breaks: The restorative effect of the school environment’s green areas on children’s cognitive performance
Amicone et al – Frontiers in Psychology
Cognitive assessment results demonstrated better sustained and selective attention and children reported greater restorativeness in an outdoor natural environment than in an indoor built environment. This finding applied to both group playtime and individual free play.

The role of neighbourhood greenspace in children’s spatial working memory
Flouri, Papachristou & Midouhas – British Journal of Educational Psychology
Children living in neighborhoods with more greenspace performed better on a spatial working memory task than children in neighborhoods with less greenspace. The level of neighborhood deprivation did not modify this relationship.

The psychology of recent nature visits: (How) are motives and attentional focus related to post-visit restorative experiences, creativity, and emotional well-being?
Pasanen, Neuvonen, & Korpela – Environment and Behaviour
In this study, both attentional focus – what people pay attention to – and their motives for the nature visit were related to nature visit outcomes, with pre-visit motives determining attentional focus during the visit.

Wild pedagogies and wilding pedagogies: Teacher-student-nature centredness and the challenges for teaching
J Quay, A Jensen – Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education
The notion of wild pedagogies entreats teachers to act – to wild pedagogies – by acknowledging that more than a singular will characterizes pedagogical situations. Wilding pedagogies requires going beyond ideas of teacher-centred and student-centred pedagogies to encompass nature-centred pedagogies: recognizing the self-will of wider nature. Attempting to incorporate nature-centred pedagogies presents difficulties and opportunities for educational responses and we highlight a way forward that might be achievable via Dewey’s notion of education through occupations.

Rethinking relationships through education: wild pedagogies in practice
M Morse, B Jickling, J Quay – Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education
In this paper we provide a contextual background for wild pedagogies and outline key ideas that underpin this special issue of the Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education.

Wilding pedagogy in an unexpected landscape: reflections and possibilities in initial teacher education
M Green, J Dyment – Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education
This article considers wild pedagogy thinking and practice and is constituted by six key touchstones, including: (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.

How ordinary wildlife makes local green places special
Folmer, Haartsen & Huigen – Landscape Research
Adults’ encounters with wildlife tend to trigger meaningful childhood memories, especially in places similar to where they grew up. Such memories foster bonding with local natural places.

Changes in outdoor learning in primary schools in England, 1995 and 2017: lessons for good practice
HE Prince – Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning
This research draws on empirical data from surveys involving teachers in primary schools in England in 1995 and 2017. The evidence illustrates that schools are continuing to use their playgrounds and day visits as locations for practice. Teacher expertise had decreased by 2017 but the major challenges and barriers to implementation of time and expense remain similar in both years. Teachers no longer see outdoor ‘education’ as a subject in its own right but within the physical education curriculum although Early Years Foundation Stage practitioners report an enabling curriculum for outdoor learning. The research identifies the strength of teachers’ values and beliefs, an open approach to curriculum interpretation, the importance of suitable locations, a culture of risk benefit and positive initiatives as key ingredients for successful outdoor learning in primary schools.