Cultural Transmission at Nature Kindergartens: Foraging as a Key Ingredient

Clare Nugent, Simon Beames


While nature environments afford food for human consumption, there is a dearth of empirical inquiry that considers foraging as a sustainable, seasonal practice that builds human-nature relations. This gap in the literature is particularly apparent in early childhood education literature. Drawing on observations recorded at two forest-based nature kindergartens in Finland and Scotland, the data illustrate how outdoor learning sites are richly resourced places where foraging practices are mediated by socio-cultural norms. Bourdieu’s concept of habitus (1977) is used to consider the ways in which foraging practices, in contrasting early childhood education programs, are hallmarked by “conduit” adults. These adults play a constitutive role in maintaining uncontested, “common sense,” quotidian behaviors.

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