Partnering for Outdoor Play: A Case Study of Forest and Nature School Programming in the Context of Licensed Child Care in Ottawa, Ontario

Blair Niblett, Kim Hiscott, Marlene Power, Hanah McFarlane

Abstract


This case study examines the policy significance of a partnership between two organizations committed to improving children’s learning and wellbeing through the delivery of a forest and nature school (FNS) program offered in the context of a licensed childcare program in the province of Ontario, Canada. The notion of the anthropocene is taken as a theory and practice framework which emphasizes the urgency for developing new educational strategies that respond to the current moment of ecological crisis facing human and more-than-human planetary communities on earth. Methodologically, the case study is taken up through the lens of action research, wherein the leaders of the two partnering organization participated as co-investigators of the project. Findings of the study suggest that best-practice policy in early-years forest and nature school programs broadly include, among others, the following: understanding a continuum of FNS pedagogies, working to influence regulatory disconnections between built and natural play environments, and advancing social and ecological justice values through FNS programs.

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Copyright © Canadian Journal of Environmental Education (CJEE) ISSN 1205-5352