Here are more links from from Natural England of recent and relevant evidence and reports, policy agenda developments, large scale delivery sector initiatives, resources and news items.  This supports the Strategic Research Groups for Learning in Natural Environments and Outdoors for All in order to develop better coherence and collaboration in research and to improve links between research, policy and practice in these areas.

The following caught our eye:

The hare and the tortoise go to forest school: Taking the scenic route to academic attainment via emotional wellbeing outdoors
M McCree, R Cutting, D Sherwin – Early Child Development and Care
The study investigates the project’s impact on children who attended weekly Forest school and outdoor learning sessions over three years in terms of their academic attainment, wellbeing and connection to nature. The children’s attendance and academic attainment improved in comparison to non-participating peers at school. The findings emphasize the importance of how social free play outdoors relationship with particular places can establish emotional resilience and self-regulation.

Relationships between outdoor and classroom task settings and cognition in primary schoolchildren
JMK Hamilton – PhD Thesis
The thesis predicts that due to a predisposition for natural affordances, children’s performance on a school task will be better outdoors than in a classroom, and associated with natural richness. Outdoor tasks were recalled more readily and in richer detail, and were preferred for all criteria, with the experienced group returning the strongest preferences. Underachievers recalled more outdoors than peers, and returned higher perceived restorativeness scale task ratings.

An evaluation of two National Park projects: Dartmoor Naturally Healthy and Exmoor Moor to Enjoy
S Howes, A Edwards-Jones, S Waite – 2018
The report explores similarities and differences and successes and challenges across and within the two projects to provide recommendations for practice both within these projects and for future development. Participant’s top outcomes were enjoyment, sense of belonging, learning and relaxation.

New Primary Forest and Woodland Teaching Resource pack from the Forest Education Network
Ideas to use trees woods and forests for curriculum linked teaching & learning. These versatile lesson ideas will help you to deliver KS1 & KS2 curriculum objectives in literacy, maths, science, history, geography, PHSE, art, music and PE.

Tree cover and species composition effects on academic performance of primary school students
S Sivarajah, SM Smith, SC Thomas – PLOS ONE
The proportion of tree cover, as distinct from other types of “green space” such as grass, was found to be a significant positive predictor of student performance, accounting for 13% of the variance explained in a statistical model predicting mean student performance assessments. The effects of tree cover and species composition were most pronounced in schools that showed the highest level of external challenges.

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