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Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(1), 1; doi:10.3390/socsci6010001

Why Take Young Children Outside? A Critical Consideration of the Professed Aims for Outdoor Learning in the Early Years by Teachers from England and Wales

1
Institute of Education, University of Reading, London Road Campus, 4 Redlands Road, Reading RG1 5EX, UK
2
Faculty of Education and Communities, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea, Townhill Road, Swansea SA2 0UT, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Carol Fuller and Richard Harris
Received: 10 August 2016 / Revised: 16 December 2016 / Accepted: 18 December 2016 / Published: 22 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equality and Social Inclusion: The Role of Education)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [226 KB, uploaded 22 December 2016]

Abstract

This comparative study between Wales and England was undertaken to better understand what influences or drives the professed aims for outdoor provision of early years teachers; specifically the extent to which professed aims reflect the research-based literature common to both countries, and/or statutory curricular, which differs in each country. The research gathered quantitative and qualitative data through an online survey. Participants were teachers of children aged four to five years working in the respective country’s University partnership schools. Partnership schools are those who work with the University to train teachers. The findings suggest Welsh teachers aim and plan to use their outdoor spaces explicitly for curriculum-related learning more so than their English counterparts who appear not to identify such specific curriculum-related learning outcomes but to emphasise personal/social/dispositional aspects of development for young children when outside. This research indicates how the divergence of education-related policy and curriculum appears to have impacted upon the way practitioners express their aims for outdoor learning in England and Wales. The values underpinning the relative curricular documentation appear to emerge in the intended practice of early years teachers in both countries. The values underpinning the academic discourse related to provision for outdoor activity is much less prominent in the responses to the surveys from English and Welsh teachers. View Full-Text
Keywords: outdoor learning; curriculum aims; Foundation Phase, Wales; Foundation Stage, England; outcomes outdoor learning; curriculum aims; Foundation Phase, Wales; Foundation Stage, England; outcomes
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Bilton, H.; Waters, J. Why Take Young Children Outside? A Critical Consideration of the Professed Aims for Outdoor Learning in the Early Years by Teachers from England and Wales. Soc. Sci. 2017, 6, 1.

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