A study into the use of the Outdoor Learning Environment across the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 in the South of England.
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff
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The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (Great Britain. DfES, 2007) has become the statutory framework for all educators working with children within the 3-5 years age phase. Since the document was implemented, it has placed an increased importance on the use of the outdoor learning environment. This case study investigated the perceptions of educators working within the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, in relation to how the introduction of the Early Years Foundation Stage had impacted on their outdoor practice. In addition, the study also examined the extent to which national outdoor initiatives have impacted on the participants' practice. The data were gathered from a triangulation of three methods, involving questionnaires, interviews and observations across five schools. The findings suggested that educators working within the Foundation Stage perceived the introduction of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum to have had a very positive impact on the use and quality of outdoor provision in their schools. By contrast, the findings showed that this positive impact had not yet been translated through to an increase in outdoor provision in Key Stage 1. The extent to which national outdoor initiatives had impacted on practice varied between the forms available. The Forest School Scheme was viewed positively by participants working in both age phases, with the majority either having developed links or proposing to do so. However, in the schools involved in the study, the government funded 'Learning Outside of the Classroom: Manifesto' was concluded to have made very little impact on practice.
MA Education Thesis
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