Natural England has brought together recently published research on learning and the environment. Highlights include:
What future/s for outdoor and environmental education in a world that has contended with COVID-19?
Contributions from Simon Beames, Rowena Passy and Sue Waite – Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education
This article brings together the perspectives of many on the journal’s editorial board, around the issue of contending with COVID-19. Twenty statements showcase a range of thoughts and experiences, highlighting the differences and similarities in the way the pandemic is impacting on the educational practice of outdoor and environmental education.
Early childhood environmental education: A systematic review of the research literature
NM Ardoin, AW Bowers – Educational Research Review
- We systematically reviewed 66 early-childhood environmental education studies.
- Environmental education supports young children’s affective and cognitive growth.
- Nature connection is important for children’s healthy social-emotional development.
- Nature-rich settings and experiences are key in early environmental education.
- Early-childhood environmental education approaches emphasize play and movement.
The effect of school design on users’ responses: A systematic review.
S Manca, V Cerina, V Tobia, S Sacchi, F Fornara – Sustainability
This systematic review focused on the effect of the educational environment design on students’ and teachers’ performance, satisfaction, and wellbeingFrom the analysis of research findings, the key role of pleasant, warm, and flexible learning environments emerged, for promoting both wellbeing and performance of users. More specifically, the presence of charming colors and pictures, ergonomic furniture, and adequate acoustic, thermal comfort, ventilation, and natural lighting have emerged as important features that school designers should care for. Furthermore, an integration of both indoor and outdoor learning situations showed to be effective for improving students’ learning and wellbeing
Adventure in the Age of COVID-19: Embracing Microadventures and Locavism in a Post-Pandemic World
SH Mackenzie, J Goodnow – Leisure Sciences
Unprecedented mobility restrictions due to COVID-19 have frozen the adventure travel and tourism industry. These restrictions have forced many to embrace ‘hyperlocal’ approaches to adventure and provided an opportunity to reimagine our adventure travel philosophies and practices. This essay first critiques pre-pandemic adventure travel and describes the hazards of this approach in age of COVID-19. It then explores creative ‘lockdown’ microadventures; envisions what post-pandemic adventure may look like; and explains why we not only need to embrace microadventures in a post-pandemic world, but also why we may prefer them to traditional adventure travel
A new focus for education?: nature connection as a goal for all education: theoretical, research and practical perspectives
A Barrable – PhD University of Dundee
This thesis examines nature connection and its correlates, which include wellbeing, pro-environmental attitudes and ecological behaviours; and puts it forward as a focus for all education, and moving away from its current status as an assumed by-product of outdoor learning, starting with early childhood and spanning across to higher education. Grounded in Self-Determination Theory but also drawing upon research from developmental and environmental psychology, it further proposes a research-informed framework that could be used to enhance nature connection. Finally, it uses research to make meaningful links between theory and practice, in the pursuit of creating a more meaningful relationship with the non-human natural world.
“She’s Only Two”: Parents and Educators as Gatekeepers of Children’s Opportunities for Nature-Based Risky Play
L McFarland, SG Laird – Chapter in Research Handbook on Childhoodnature
This Chapter takes an ecological systems and cross-cultural approach to discuss the role that nature-based risky play has in children’s exploration of the natural world, its importance in quality early childhood education, and its benefits. The authors draw on studies of parents and early childhood educators from Australia and the United States to explore perspectives and practices related to the provision of opportunities for children to engage in nature-based risky play. Beyond the typical discussion of implications for research and practice, further insights are given for parents and educators alike on the ways in which outdoor risky play can be promoted, with a focus on connecting children with the natural environment.
The lasting impacts of outdoor adventure residential experiences on young people
H Prince – Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning
Evidence from four retrospective empirical research studies on lasting impacts (> 12 months) of outdoor residential experiences for young people in the UK since 2015 are examined through a form of systematic review of papers and datasets. Thematic and comparative analysis identified lasting impacts as: self-confidence, independence and communication. Respondents also identified confidence, teamwork, life skills, intra-personal skills and the take up of new opportunities/activities as the impacts of use in young people’s lives since their residential experience. A steps of change process within a theory of change model is used to examine the causal chains and attributes influencing outcomes.
Relationships between learning environments and self-efficacy in primary schools and differing perceptions of at-risk students
S Galos, JM Aldridge – Learning Environments Research
Students who are considered to be at-risk of academic failure are more likely to experience a range of serious outcomes both at school and later in life. The aims of the study were two-fold. First, to better understand how educators might support students considered to be at-risk, we examined whether they perceived their learning environment and self-efficacy differently from their counterparts. Second, to provide insight into how teachers can improve their students’ self-efficacy, we investigated relationships between students’ perceptions of classroom environment and their self-efficacy.
Nature exposure and positive body image:(Re-) examining the mediating roles of connectedness to nature and trait mindfulness
V Swami, D Barron, J Todd, G Horne, A Furnham – Body Image
Greater nature exposure was significantly associated with higher body appreciation
Connectedness to nature (CtN) mediated the direct association
Evidence of a serial mediation, first with mindful awareness and second by CtN, was also obtained