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

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3.1 Nature engaging and enhancing pedagogy

Josephidou and Kemp (2022) use the term ‘nature engaging and enhancing pedagogy’ to emphasise the need to think about

  • a.opportunities for the youngest children to engage with the natural world for their learning, development and wellbeing
  • b.opportunities to enhance the nature-richness and diversity of the outdoor area to support environmental wellbeing.

They use the term ‘enhancing’ in a tentative way to express what could also be termed naturalisation – that is enhancing the natural biodiversity of an environment ideally through the introduction of native species. The important point is that it requires a three-way focus on the inter-relationships between the child, the adult and the environment.

The concept of nature engaging and enhancing is underpinned by an ethos of attentiveness and care. This ethos needs to be applied similarly to the social and natural world (i.e., to the ways people relate to both humans and the non-human). Effective care requires a willingness to be open, attentive and responsive whether it is a question of caring for young children or for plants and animals. Froebel’s idea of the garden is helpful to return to here as it emphasises the gardener’s responsibility to tend to its changing needs through the seasons.