UWTSD PhD graduate and Associate Professor contribute to a new book on Outdoor Learning and Play
A PhD graduate and Associate Professor from UWTSD have recently contributed to a new book called ‘Outdoor Learning and Play - Pedagogical Practices and Children's Cultural Formation.’
Copyright of image belongs to Angela Rekers.
The book examines children’s participation in dialectical reciprocity with place-based institutional practices by presenting empirical research from Australia, Brazil, China, Poland, Norway, and Wales. Underpinned by cultural-historical theory, the analysis reveals how outdoors and nature form unique conditions for children's play, formal and informal learning, and cultural formation. The analysis also surfaces how inequalities exist in societies and communities, which often limit and constrain families' and children's access to and participation in outdoor spaces and nature. The findings highlight how institutional practices are shaped by pedagogical content, teachers' training, institutional regulations and societal perceptions of nature, children, and suitable, sustainable education for young children. Due to crises, such as climate change and the recent pandemic, specific focus on the outdoors and nature in cultural formation is timely for the cultural-historical theoretical tradition. In doing so, the book provides empirical and theoretical support for policy makers, researchers, educators, and families to enhance, increase and sustain outdoor and nature education.
Dr Angela Rekers, a recent UWTSD PhD graduate is co-editor of the book. Angela holds an MSc in Environmental Education for Sustainability and has worked in the field of experiential and outdoor learning for 20 years. Her research interests include education for social and ecological justice, multimodal literacies, inclusive participation, and inclusive research methodologies. Angela now works in the USA at St. Ambrose University, having secured a lectureship a year after completion of her studies.
During her PhD studies, Associate Professor Dr Jane Waters-Davies was Angela’s Director of Studies. In this period, Angela became involved with the international group of authors, and both Angela and Jane have contributed one chapter to the book.
Dr Jane Waters-Davies said: “The book explores children’s participation in place-based institutional practices by presenting empirical research from Australia, Brazil, China, Poland, Norway and Wales. It is underpinned by cultural-historical theory, and the analysis reveals how outdoors and nature form unique conditions for children's play, formal and informal learning, and cultural formation. The Wales chapter (by Angela and me) explores how teachers negotiate the competing demands of policy, curriculum, and their knowledge of child development during outdoor 'Forest school' sessions with children of 4-5years of age. We illustrate how children's participation is shaped by the (competing) institutional practices in this situation and exemplify how children can be labelled as 'other' (e.g., naughty) early in their education careers as a result.”
The book is open access - so anyone can read it. A copy of the book can be viewed here. Outdoor Learning and Play | SpringerLink
Lowri Thomas, Principal Communications and PR Officer