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Title: Developing good practice in the provision of outdoor education in the early years
Author: Gaunt, Jillian
ISNI:       0000 0004 2682 9597
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2008
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This study is an investigation into the relationship between children's use of the outdoor environment and the early years curriculum. An action research approach was used in which cycles of observation, reflection and intervention led to deeper understandings about children's learning and the way it can be facilitated through the use of outdoor learning experiences. The findings highlight the potential an outdoor space can offer children as a base for learning and demonstrate how learning outdoors enables children to develop dispositions which are vital for their future achievements. I set the research in the historical context by drawing on the work of people in the past who have influenced the development of early years education and whose work is still relevant today. The research process has included a major action research cycle through which the outdoor environment of the setting was developed from a small nursery garden to a full forest school experience using the schools grounds and beyond. Within this major cycle, other smaller cycles have focused on the way in which children learn in the outdoor environment: communication and the development of cognitive structures in the outdoor environment; children learning through observing other children; offering choice in outdoor play; children's use of physical play activities; patterns emerging in play situations linked to the development of schemas. The action research process has been empowering for me as a researcher which in turn has led to the children making more decisions about their own learning and having more opportunities to make choices. Links are made between my own constructivist stance as a researcher and the ways in which children learn. The collaborative nature of action research has enabled all the practitioners in our setting to become part of my critical friendship group. I also analyse more recent developments and identify the tension which exists between statutory requirements and the learning needs of young children. I identify ways in which these requirements can often work to prevent practitioners from providing effective practice for our youngest children.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available