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ERIC Number: EJ1204673
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Feb
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0141-1926
Learning While Playing: Children's Forest School Experiences in the UK
Coates, Janine K.; Pimlott-Wilson, Helena
British Educational Research Journal, v45 n1 p21-40 Feb 2019
Children's outdoor play is declining, despite clear links between play, learning and development. Alternative learning initiatives which provide children with a diversity of play opportunities, including the chance to play outdoors, are therefore needed. One such programme, Forest School, is increasing in popularity in the UK and internationally, yet little is understood about its impact on children's learning, or how alternative approaches are informing learning in mainstream settings. This novel study examined primary school children's experiences of engaging in a Forest School programme in relation to this intersection between formal and informal approaches to learning. It explored how children interpret their experiences when faced with a fusion of learning environments and critically evaluates the benefits children realise, when asked to reflect on their learning engagement in both classroom and outdoor settings. Interviews were conducted with 33 children from two mainstream primary schools in England who had recently completed a 6-week Forest School programme. A rigorous phenomenological thematic analysis revealed three inter-related themes: a break from routine; learning through play; collaboration and teamwork. The findings suggest that the blending of Forest School with mainstream settings contributes to children's social, cognitive, emotional and physical skill development through experiential learning using play. These findings are significant because they not only emphasise the values of social constructivist play-pedagogy which underpin Forest School practice, but also highlight the need for primary schools to consider learning outside of the classroom as an effective pedagogy.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom