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Muddy knees and muddy needs: parents' perceptions of outdoor learning

Parsons, K. J.; Traunter, J.


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Dr Jo Traunter
Head of Subject for Education, Childhood and Youth Studies


Research highlights that children across the UK access the outdoors less than previous generations, often at levels below that prescribed by the United Nations as a basic level of outdoor access for prisoners. School staff and parents are intrinsic partners in facilitating children’s access to the outdoors and the associated learning opportunities it presents. There exists however a complex set of relationships and perceptions governing the dynamics of these relationships and the resultant access to opportunities presented by learning outdoors. This paper aims to explore these perceptions by examining data collected through a combination of questionnaires and interviews with parents and teachers. The results indicate a significant disconnect in parent and teacher perceptions related to the purpose and opportunities for learning outdoors. These findings have a range of important implications for early childhood educators, parents and others looking to promote the outdoors as a learning environment across the foundation stage.


Parsons, K. J., & Traunter, J. (2020). Muddy knees and muddy needs: parents' perceptions of outdoor learning. Children's Geographies, 18(6), 699-711.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 7, 2019
Online Publication Date Nov 26, 2019
Publication Date 2020
Deposit Date Jan 7, 2020
Publicly Available Date Nov 27, 2020
Journal Children's Geographies
Print ISSN 1473-3285
Electronic ISSN 1473-3277
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 6
Pages 699-711
Keywords Outdoors; Learning outside the classroom; Children's play spaces; Perceptions; Parents voices
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