Moved by Nature?: Children’s Relations to Significant Outdoor Places

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Children are claimed to have lost connection with the outdoors, and wide-ranging efforts are made to reconnect them with the natural environment. A growing body of evidence substantiates the positive effects of children’s interactions with the outdoor environment, and in this light the promotion of children’s outdoor play and recreation seems legitimate.
Over the past decade, a variety of facilities, spaces, and landscapes have been built in Denmark to promote children’s outdoor recreation. Some studies indicate a mismatch between adult constructs of outdoor places for children and children’s own outdoor places. A deeper understanding of children’s relations with outdoor places seems crucial when striving to promote children’s everyday outdoor activities.
Drawing on the tradition of Children’s Geographies, the study aims to investigate children’s embodied, spatial, temporal, and relational entanglement with their significant outdoor places. Thus, the study intends to contribute with empirically and theoretically founded critical perspectives to the understanding of children’s outdoor recreation in Denmark.

The study is a focused, multi-sited, ethnographical field study, and takes a phenomenological-hermeneutical approach. Using photo-elicited semi-structured interviews and “go-along” participant observation the study investigates two children´s groups from a school in Denmark (N=45). The two groups differ in age, being 11-12 and 14-15 years old respectively (5th and 8th grade).
Preliminary results show 1) that children have comprehensive knowledge about their outdoor places, 2) that children engage in a dynamic interplay with their outdoor places, and 3) that many children use their outdoor places as an everyday refuge.
Periode4. jul. 20168. jul. 2016
Begivenhedstitel7th International Outdoor Education Research Conference
PlaceringSydney, CanadaVis på kort