Supporting early learning outdoors in the UK

Culture clash and concord

Authored by: Sue Waite

Routledge International Handbook of Outdoor Studies

Print publication date:  November  2015
Online publication date:  November  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138782884
eBook ISBN: 9781315768465
Adobe ISBN: 9781317666523


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In this chapter, I consider how cultural perspectives can support provision of outdoor learning for the early years, using an ecological framework (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) to structure the different levels at which cultural influence can be perceived. I begin by briefly considering the educational climate in the UK, focusing specifically on England, and its implications for early years policy and provision. I then illustrate, through case studies of outdoor learning provision from early years settings, ways in which culture permeates available educational opportunities, highlighting mismatches and tensions between cultural perspectives. I propose cultural density (Waite, 2013) as a new conceptual tool to consider how clashes and concord between cultural perspectives might be handled productively, and might work towards rather than against greater social justice and opportunities for all through outdoor learning. Finally, I suggest some future directions for research enquiry and curriculum development.

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