Resonating with the work of early years pioneers such as Rousseau and Froebel – as well as Montessori – there has been a recent resurgence of interest in the UK in the potential of the outdoor environment for supporting children's learning.
Not all children attend will-equipped nurseries with exciting and challenging outdoor areas. But all early years settings should be providing outside play opportunities regardless of their facilities.
Scientists have now confirmed something that children have always instinctively known; playing in mud is a joyful experience. Recent research has shown that dirt contains microscopic bacteria that stimulates the immune system and increases the levels of serotonin in our brains, an endorphin that...
We expect three-year-olds to behave like elementary-aged children, then wonder why we see “behaviors” in them. Sometimes I wish we could go back to the days when children didn’t start school until age five, and then only in the mornings.
The more I think about ways to support children in growing into productive, happy, and kind individuals, the more I realize that time outdoors may be the missing ingredient. Spending unstructured time in nature opens a world of wonder and awe.
During the last 24 years in childcare, I have been through training and consistently applied the theory that it’s not bad weather but bad clothing that prevents outdoor play. But after spending years training my staff to think the same way, I’ve concluded that it’s often the equipment that lets...
The world is full of expectation and possibility for young children from the moment they are born.
In order to fully embrace what we see as an important component of outdoor exploration, namely co-exploration, you need to leave the formal instructive style of teaching at the door.
"It amazes me how quickly and how often we forget that we are embodied, that we see the world the way we do because we live in these bodies."
- Sir Ken Robinson (2012)
Physical development in young children is about the emergence of a robust sense of self along with awareness of self,...
Friedrich Froebel was counter-cultural in his day, vehemently protesting an educational system in which children were forced into a mould instead of being valued and nurtured as individuals. Our results-driven system is not fundamentally different.