Helpful Resources: A focus on nature-based preschools from Barnardos in Ireland

Over the lifetime of this blog, we have been able to point people to a wide range of relevant and useful resources, carrying out the aspiration for Early Childhood Outdoors to act as a resource directory:

Acting as a source directory, Early Childhood Outdoors helps to share resources that support the mission of “more children thriving outdoors, more often and for longer, benefiting from richer and more meaningful environments offering authentic, rewarding and satisfying experiences”.  These range from the locations of free online resources, such as documents, video and training, to information about books, film and relevant CPD opportunities.  We will also encourage and enable the production of new materials, especially by members of the growing Early Childhood Outdoors meshwork community.

In addition to the 18 previous posts here on this blog that share such materials, for the past year or so we have highlighted 50 ‘ECO recommended books’ (a mix of children’s picture books and books directed at educators) on our Facebook page, ECO Being Outside.  It would be really good to share your recommendations too, so do please comment on the Facebook page and we’ll follow that up.

Moving forward, we are introducing a new stream in this blog bringing attention to some of the longer, more in-depth, sometimes freely available, materials being produced that support outdoor- and nature-based practices.  Kicking off with the journal of Barnardos in Ireland, this free to download issue of Childlinks looks at nature-based preschools where children spend most of their time engaged in free play outdoors in a natural setting, including the full version of Orlagh Doyle’s recent post on this blog.

From the editorial by Sinead Lawton:  

“In articles from Ireland, Lesley McIvenna from DCU considers how the outdoors provides opportunities for children to learn through play, movement, and communication and sensory experiences on a much larger scale outdoors in nature, as well as allowing children to explore and experience the natural world. Two providers of Irish preschools then outline how children thrive in their nature-based settings, eating, relaxing, playing and exploring outdoors in all weathers. Finally, Joan Whelan from the Irish Forest School Association outlines the history and development of Forest Schools in Ireland and how these work in practice, explaining how they offer positive outcomes for children’s learning and development.

Also in this issue, researchers from the US outline how nature preschools can help cultivate a successful transition from preschool to school while other international articles consider how sustainability education can be cultivated in nature-based early childhood programmes and how a socially- and ecologically- conscious critical pedagogy can be applied to nature-based programmes in early childhood care and education.”

The issue has a good balance of practitioner perspectives and academic articles (which are usefully referenced) as follows:

Playful Learning: How Nature Preschools Help Cultivate Academic Readiness by Eva Burgess, M.E.Ed, Classroom Educator, Oak Hill School, Eugene, Oregon, and Julie Ernst, Ph.D, Professor of Environmental Education, University of Minnesota, Duluth, U.S.

Natural Start by Irene Teeling, Manager, Natural Start

We Can Mitigate Climate Change by Cultivating Sustainability Education in Nature-Based Early Childhood Programmes by Shannon Audley, Smith College, US, and Julia Ginsburg, Concordia University, Canada

The Benefits of Outdoor Learning by Lesley McIlvenna, Lecturer, Dublin City University, Dublin, and Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK, Climate Ambassador, An Taisce

Outdoor Learning in Carraig Briste & Killegney Early Years by Orlagh Doyle, Owner/Director, Carraig Briste & Killegney Early Years

The Irish Forest School Association (IFSA) by Joan Whelan, Chairperson, the Irish Forest School Association 

Imagination, Connection and Involvement: Ecojustice Education in Early Childhood by Sarah Foglesong, M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education Programme and Manager,
Pathfinder Ranch, California, U.S.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *