My research often involves coming across someone who is doing a great job and wanting to share them with the rest of the world.
- Exploring outdoors came about after a conversation with a colleague running an Explorers club in a primary school.
- After having visited outstanding teachers in action in a Portuguese day care centre I wished to share their visionary way in which they were teaching children under three years of age in the outdoor environment. Together we wrote: Taking the first steps outside Under threes learning and developing in the natural environment (2017).
The Early Years Foundation Stage: outdoor facilities, organisation and staff attitudes.
I have been researching adult aims and objectives for outdoor education and found that teachers can be unsure about the why of what they are doing outside. My further study is indicating that the adult’s own childhood and family experiences of outdoor education impact on whether they feel secure in working outdoors with young children.
School breaktime can be a time of joy and a time of unhappiness. It can be a time of poor behaviour in some children and that behaviour can spill back into class time. However, where schools make an effort to zone the playground and offer opportunities for play with natural materials and loose parts children are much happier, learn a great deal and do not misbehave. Visits to schools in Portugal, Denmark and Australia indicate that there are simple changes which can be made to both break and lunch time to dramatically improve this time for all.
Children and adults interacting in the outdoor environment
A study into adult and child interactions in the outdoor play environment, in early years foundation stage settings in England, found that children want to talk to adults about things which are important to them and be involved in conversations of depth and meaning. Staff on the other hand tend to have more interactions with children which are monitorial in nature- do this, do that, dont do that, get off that bike, etc. Staff need to become more aware of how to develop conversational language with children in the outdoor environment so they can have conversations which stimulate thinking, questioning and understanding and develop vocabulary.