Ruth Wilson asserts that “While creative play can and does occur in almost any environment, recent research indicates that natural outdoor spaces have a special quality that promotes the frequency, duration, and quality of creative play (Bilton 2010a, Elliot 2008, Louv 2006). natural outdoor playspaces are spaces that have trees, grass, and other types of vegetation. They also feature a variety of natural materials for children to manipulate, such as stones, leaves, and twigs.” (p.2)
“While some may think that a more efficient way of promoting an environmental ethic would be through direct teaching, research and theory in the fields of early childhood education and environmental education do not support the direct-teaching approach (Copple and Bredekamp 2009, NAAEE 2010). From the early childhood education literature, we know that young children construct their own knowledge and build a sense of ‘rightness’ and responsibility from the inside out – versus having knowledge and ethics handed to them from the outside. And from the environmental education literature, we know that environmental stewardship is rooted in a sense of appreciation and caring. Fear and mandates have not been effective in developing strong commitments to protecting the environment. Early positive experiences in natural environments have proven to be a far more effective way of fostering environmental stewardship (Chawla and Hart 1995).” (p.3)
“…nature itself is a teacher. From nature, we learn about systems and interdependence; about diversity and the way in which it enriches the environment; about beauty and mystery and the role these play in our lives; about life and death, adaptation, interconnectedness, patterns, and cycles. From nature, we also learn about ourselves as being a part of and dependent upon something greater than ourselves.” (p.3)
Ref: Ruth Wilson (2012) Nature and Young Children: Encouraging creative play and learning in natural environments. Second edition. Routledge: London and New York.
Reference is made to:
Bilton, H 2010a Learning Outdoors. new York: Routledge.
Chawla, L and Hart, RA 1995 The roots of environmental concern. The NAMTA Journal 20(1), 148-57
Copple, C and Bredekamp, S (eds) 2009 Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs, 3rd edn. Washington DC: NAEYC
Elliot, S (ed.) 2008 The outdoor playspace naturally for children birth to five years. Castle Hill, NSW: Pandemelon press
Louv, R 2006 The Last Child in the Woods. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books.
NAAEE 2010 Early Childhood Environmental Education Programs: Guidelines for Excellence. Washington, DC: NAAEE