This is part of a recent round up by Natural England of recent and relevant evidence and reports, policy agenda developments, large scale delivery sector initiatives, resources and news items from the UK and abroad, with a focus on education and learning. This supports the Strategic Research Network for People and Nature to develop better coherence and collaboration in research and to improve links between research, policy and practice in these areas.
Positive masculinity in the outdoors: applying a systems lens to evaluate an adolescent outdoor education program
RX Su, S McLean, C Dallat, BR Lane – Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education
The aim of this study was to investigate a specific outdoor education program targeted for adolescent males with the purpose of developing positive masculinity. The analysis identified multiple components of the program, that were intended to enhance the development of positive masculinity. These include the structured and unstructured activities, the debrief and guided reflections, and Elders night.
My School My Planet
Learning Through Landscapes Evaluation Report
This is the report from a pilot project developed to improve the outcomes of children from disadvantaged ethnic groups and low socioeconomic backgrounds. The project was deployed at exceptional speed, during an incredibly challenging period, to support children, schools, and communities when they were most in need.
Developing a relationship with nature and place: the potential role of forest school
F Harris – Environmental Education Research
This paper focusses on forest school practitioners’ perceptions of children’s development of a relationship with nature and the place where forest school occurs, through interviews with forest school activity leaders. The findings suggest that through regular and repeated activities in a natural setting at forest school, children become more relaxed, overcome any fears, have fun, connect with nature as they come to know it better, and develop an affinity for the location. Further, they develop a sense of ownership and concern for the forest school setting and desire to protect it. For some forest school practitioners, fostering a relationship with nature and place, and developing pro-environmental behaviour, is a fundamental part of their practice.
Systematic review of the correlates of outdoor play and time among children aged 3-12 years
EY Lee et al – International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity
This systematic review synthesized evidence on the correlates of outdoor play and outdoor time among children aged 3-12 years. Thirty-three variables were identified as key/common correlates of outdoor play/time, including eight correlates at the individual level (e.g., sex/gender, race/ethnicity, physical activity), 10 correlates at the parental level (e.g., parental attitude/support/behavior, parenting practice), nine at the microsystem level (e.g., proximal home/social environment such as residence type, peer influence), three at the macrosystem/community level (e.g., availability of space children can play), and three at the physical ecology/pressure for macrosystem change level (e.g., seasonality, rurality). No key correlates were found at the institutional level.
Journal of Physical Education and Sport
Special issue – on “outdoor education – life span motor development. Including papers on
- Outdoor activities and motor development in 2–7-year-old boys and girls
- Teaching styles and outdoor education to promote non-linear learning
- Indoors and Outdoors: schoolyards as learning and playing opportunities
- Urban outdoor education as a driver for active mobility in children
- Outdoor education as a way of life
Assessing challenges and opportunities for schools’ access to nature in England
E Walker, D Bormpoudakis, J Tzanopoulos – Urban Forestry & Urban Greening
This study assesses the current capacity for English primary schools to provide access to nature, along with opportunities and challenges. Using a mixed-methods approach combining questionnaires, interviews and GIS distance analysis. We found that access to nature through trips to off-site locations is limited by several factors, including the cost of transport. Even when schools are within walking distance to green spaces or had access to such spaces on the school site, factors such as the pressure of delivering the National Curriculum and teachers’ lack of engagement with outdoor learning may limit opportunities to access nature.
The Forest School impact on children: reviewing two decades of research
ZF Dabaja – International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education
Forest School, a distinctive form of outdoor learning, was suggested to have a beneficial impact on the involved children. The purpose of this paper is to systematically locate and select existing articles published from January 2000 to December 2019 to identify what research had suggested in terms of the Forest School impact on the involved children. The present review of literature yielded seven positive Forest School effects on the children. In this paper, I solely focus on introducing the improved social and cooperative skills of the children as well as their physical skills and conclude with propositions for further studies.
Review of Nature Experience in Learning
D Liu, EA Fisher, G Trainin – TBC
This review focuses on the association between being exposed to the natural environment and student academic performance. A significant and positive association was found between greenspace and student academic performance in the majority of the studies reviewed. When students have more access to green space surrounding schools, they tend to perform better academically even after accounting for Social and Economic differences.
An expert-led outdoor activity can have a lasting impact on the environmental knowledge of participating pupils and adults
M Boyd, GW Scott – Education
Many teachers perceive themselves to lack the skills, knowledge and resources to undertake meaningful outdoor education but through our study we show that by working with a professional environmental educator these limitations can be overcome. We have shown that children and adults can enhance their understanding and knowledge of an aquatic habitat and that through this kind of first-hand experience the impact upon children can be a lasting one
Thematic Section: Biodiversity Revisited Teachers’ perspectives and practices on biodiversity web portals as an opportunity to reconnect education with nature
A Picanço, AM Arroz, IR Amorim, S Matos, R Gabriel – Environmental Conservation
Teachers play a crucial role in how biodiversity, and in particular local biodiversity, is understood. To provide insight into how to improve communication on the subject, we investigate teachers’ perspectives and social representations regarding biodiversity, their fluency in terms of Internet use, their familiarity with biodiversity web portals and perceived pedagogical usefulness of technology. Our results indicate that teachers’ perspectives about biodiversity need to be broadened and improved and that it is worth exploring whether information and communication technology represents a window of opportunity to do so.