How do children experience nature? Meaning-making and socialization to outdoor life – How do children experience nature? Meaning-making and socialization to outdoor life

Foto: Tove Hamre
Foto: Tove Hamre

Children’s outdoor life has the latest decades changed substantially in form and content, but is under-focused in research. The study will fill a need for broad and interdisciplinary knowledge concerning this topic, using different methods but jointed in an experience-based and open approach. The study will include a review over existing, but probably limited knowledge on the extent of children’s experiences in nature today. To fill out the gap of knowledge and as background for further qualitative research, a national survey will be conducted mapping who, when, where and in what context children are in outdoor natural areas. The main focus in the study will be on meaning-making and socialization for outdoor activities, by focusing on how children experience nature in different settings along a gradient from more self-controlled and unorganized outdoor activities to adult-controlled and organized outdoor activities. This main part of the study will base on three in-depth qualitative case-studies and two more superficial examples which in total represent this gradient. The study will focus specifically on how meaning-making in children’s experiences in nature can contribute in curriculum development in ECEC’s [dvs. barnehager], nature management and planning, and then be used to facilitate good opportunities for outdoor recreation activities and socialization to outdoor life.

Project details

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Project period

01/01/2012 - 31/12/2015

Collaboration partners

The Forestry Commission, UK.


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