Degrees of difference. A case study of forest school in England and Denmark

Mackinder, M. (2020) Degrees of difference. A case study of forest school in England and Denmark. Doctoral thesis, University of Leicester.

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Closely associated with the established Danish early years practice of Forest Kindergarten, Forest School in England is an alternative approach to young children playing outside. Considering the relationship between the two methods there is limited research that has directly compared the two approaches. Using an exploratory, comparative case study methodology, this project uses interviews, observations, and photo tours to explore pedagogy of Forest Learning, through adult’s interpretations and children's experiences in each context. The use of the environment in each context was also investigated. Data was analysed using an emergent, thematic analysis that allowed for the exploration of common elements while also identifying differences across the two cases. Using a constructivist perspective to explore the pedagogical approaches in each context it was possible to identify that the adults in each case interpreted and enacted pedagogy differently. Practitioners interpreted Forest School using a scaffolding approach, providing activities, toys, and equipment for children, in an outside environment, whereas pedagogues co-constructed Forest Kindergarten with children, through an outdoor environment. However, the children in each case, engaged similarly in child-initiated play, away from adults in favourite places and used natural resources creatively. In addition, the familiar natural features and fixed equipment provided security from which the children developed and initiated their own play. It was found that in each context, the three elements of adult, child, and environment, were interpreted and experienced through a constructivist pedagogy in different ways, to produce an individual interpretation of Forest Learning.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions: School of Teacher Development
Depositing User: Melanie Mackinder
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2021 09:57
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2021 09:57

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