Exploring Forests and Outdoor Experiences

Exploring forest and outdoor experiences

Drawing on international literature and practitioner perspectives, this project aims to establish a shared of understanding of 'forest' and outdoor experience.


There is currently a discourse around the importance of outdoor education in early learning. This project seeks to engage with academic and professional concerns that young children’s current provision can be impoverished and inadequate if it does not foster childhood appreciation of outdoor and natural environments.*

*(Gustavsson and Pramling, 2014; Klaarand Ohman, 2014; Watts, 2013; Tovey, 2007)

Research aims

Exploring forest and outdoor experiences in different cultural contexts: towards a shared understanding

Through this project, we aim to identify the different ways in which cultural perspectives impact upon the interpretation and understanding of the benefits of forest and outdoor experiences.

Research objectives

Cultural influence

To identify cultural factors that might impact upon an understanding of the benefits of ‘forest’ and outdoor practice and provision.

Practitioner perspectives

To identify practitioner perspectives in relation to practice and pedagogy regarding forest and outdoor experience.

Childhood development

To explore how practitioners enable children to develop their identities in relation to the environment and concept of space and place.


  • Case study approach
  • Purposive sampling
  • Semi-structured interviews
  • Observations of settings’ outdoor play and forest practice
  • Cross-case analysis


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