STUDENT OUTCOMES AND NATURAL SCHOOLING PATHWAYS FROM EVIDENCE TO IMPACT REPORT 2016
Professor Karen Malone, Centre for Educational Research, Western Sydney University
Associate Professor Sue Waite, Plymouth Institute of Education, Plymouth University
This report coincide with a time when there is evidence that childhoods are dramatically changing, and children are experiencing limited opportunities to be outdoors in formal or informal learning settings, with consequent negative effects. The evidence especially reveals that lack of exposure to natural environments denies children the opportunity to develop understandings and experiences that will have a long term impact on the quality of their lives, particularly in relation to their physical health and wellbeing and ‘character capabilities’ such as application, self-regulation, empathy, creativity, and innovation, and their capacity to be successful learners and active contributing members for a sustainable society. This report responds to an urgency to address this social predicament; the childhood disconnect from nature and importance of learning in natural environments, with a view of encouraging policy makers to recognise the value of outdoor learning and the opportunities that it provides to overcome these contemporary challenges to children’s education, health, wellbeing and future success in life.