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Young children, the outdoors and nature
Young children, the outdoors and nature

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3.1 Environments matter

While the value of time spent outdoors is generally recognised, there has perhaps been a lack of attention to the quality of these environments. Froebel’s vivid description of babies as an ‘appropriating eye’ reminds us of the need to consider the sensory qualities of outdoor spaces. Session 2 highlighted the tendency to create safe, artificial spaces for the youngest children, but there are concerns that these may offer little sensory stimulation. Contrasted to Froebelian understanding of the importance of time spent from birth ‘with the clear, still objects of nature’ contemporary outdoor provision can be both limited and limiting. There is a need to consider how natural elements can be built into spaces for the youngest children.

Listen to Tina Bruce discussing what ‘a life in and with nature’ looks like in present day practice.

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