Outdoor Learning in Early Childhood

Karen Seierøe Barfod, Peter Bentsen, Matt P. Stevenson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingContribution to book/anthologyResearchpeer-review


The impact of nature and the outdoors on a child’s
development begins within the first year of life.
By the time children are ready to begin regular
early childhood education (ECE), such as daycare
or kindergarten, they have become highly adept at
receiving information from their environment
through their senses. Once this information
reaches a young child’s brain, it is processed
through a series of cognitive systems that are
experiencing rapid development, through a “use
it or lose it” process known as synaptic pruning.
The strengthening of neural circuitry during these
early stages will lay the foundation that ultimately
determines how well children function at school,
how they interact with peers, and ultimately, what
they can achieve in life. This means, the early
stages of a child’s life, including the type of ECE
they receive, should be of primary importance to
optimize their unique and individual path for
growth and development.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Teacher Education
EditorsMichael A. Peters
Place of PublicationSingapore
Publication date2020
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-13-1179-6
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • outdoor education


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