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

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1 Bigger questions

If you think back to Session 4 you will remember that you considered some of the challenges, risks and opportunities you may face if you wish to develop your practice in this area. It is key here to focus on the third strand of opportunities and not to be distracted by challenges.

The challenges and risks are easy to find but creative thinking about what could work is exciting and energising. You need look no further than the children to find answers to any dilemmas remembering Froebel’s words from Session 3:

And very, very little is needed from those around the child, to give it [sic] what the years of childhood require. We need only to designate, to name, to give words to what the child does, perceives and finds.

(Froebel, 1887, p. 41)

Being able to reflect on practice with young children is an important factor in the role of the adult. ‘Reflection’ can, however, become a throwaway term, easy to say but more problematic to carry out. One way to do this is to continually have the ‘What?’ So what? Now what?’ questions at the back of our mind. Take the example of watching a young child outside and reflecting on that observation. Table 1 demonstrates how the adult can use this questioning model to take practice forward.

Table 1


What can I see happening?

What am I doing?

What are the children/other practitioners doing?

So what?

What are the implications of this?

What could it mean?

What could happen as a consequence of this?

Now what?

How could I intervene to enhance the positive consequences?

Should I intervene at all?

What is my role here?

What might be a better way of doing x/y/z?