Educators have a key pedagogical role in promoting early years outdoor play in natural environments. Active outdoor play involving risk-taking has been linked to positive effects on social health and behaviour, and encourages physical activity and motor skill development. At the same time, it has been recognised that opportunities for children to experience outdoor learning have been reduced in recent decades due to the impacts of technology, urbanisation and social change.

This book brings together renowned authors, with research and professional experience in a range of disciplines, to provide a comprehensive guide to developing positive and engaging outdoor learning environments in the early years. Part 1 looks at pedagogy and outdoor environments, and considers the value of risk-taking and developing a young child's appreciation of the natural world. Part 2 examines the key principles involved in the design and planning of these spaces, such as applying the relevant equipment standards and regulations. Part 3 explores how educators can develop an understanding of children's own perspectives on outdoor spaces, including promoting agency and recognising the importance of private playspaces. Part 4 examines different cultural perspectives on outdoor play, including Indigenous approaches, while Part 5 considers the range of experiences possible beyond purposefully-designed spaces, from visiting nature reserves to exploring urban environments.

'A much needed and comprehensive resource for pre-service teachers and educators of young children that encompasses philosophies, theories, pedagogy and practice for purposeful engagement of children in all kinds of outdoor spaces in Australia.'
- Dr Kumara Ward, Director of Academic Program: Early Childhood Education, Western Sydney University

'This seminal work will provide a shared language and framework for educators, policy developers, community builders and researchers in exploring the justifications for engaging children in well considered outdoor learning places and spaces.'
- Leanne Grogan, School of Education, Outdoor and Environmental Studies, La Trobe University.

chapter Chapter 1|16 pages

Why do outdoor play and learning matter?

ByHelen Little, Sue Elliott, Shirley Wyver

part Part 1|79 pages

Outdoor environments as pedagogical spaces

chapter Chapter 2|19 pages

Risk-taking in outdoor play

Challenges and possibilities
ByHelen Little

chapter Chapter 3|21 pages

Green outdoor environments

Settings for promoting children’s health and wellbeing
ByJanet Dyment, Anne Bell, Monica Green

chapter Chapter 4|20 pages

Caring for the environment

Towards sustainable futures
ByJulie Davis

chapter Chapter 5|17 pages

Birds and babies

A meeting of species
ByJanet Robertson, Meredith Chan, Karen Fong

part Part 2|45 pages

Designing and planning for outdoor learning

chapter Chapter 6|21 pages

Planning outdoor learning environments

ByMary Jeavons

chapter Chapter 7|22 pages

Application of standards and regulations to early years outdoor playspaces

ByMary Jeavons, Sharon Jameson, Sue Elliott

part Part 3|57 pages

Children’s voices

chapter Chapter 8|19 pages

Strengthening children’s agency in outdoor learning environments

ByGlynne Mackey

chapter Chapter 9|18 pages

The private play places of childhood

ByDeborah Moore

chapter Chapter 10|18 pages

Creating a school playground in Papua New Guinea

A participatory approach with young children
BySue Elliott, Kym Simoncini, Victoria Carr, Lalen Simeon, Elisapesi Manson

part Part 4|39 pages

Cultural perspectives

chapter Chapter 11|17 pages

Indigenous perspectives on outdoor learning environments

On Country Learning
ByLibby Lee-Hammond, Elizabeth Jackson-Barrett

chapter Chapter 12|20 pages

Outdoor play in Norwegian and Australian early years settings

Differences in theory, pedagogy and practice
ByLeyla Eide

part Part 5|34 pages

The outdoors and beyond

chapter Chapter 13|19 pages

Beyond the fence

Exploring forest preschool/school approaches in Australia
BySue Elliott, Barbara Chancellor

chapter Chapter 14|13 pages

Urban environments and outdoor learning

ByShirley Wyver, Jennifer Kent, Paul Tranter, Geraldine Naughton, Lina Engelen, Anita Bundy, Kam Tara