Outdoor Kindergarten: Achieving Outcomes with A Place-based & Landbased Approach to Emergent Curriculum

Breanne Card, Anne Burke


Many educators have come to realize the value of including the outdoor environment in their pedagogy and curricula. This article aims to contribute to the growing field of research on how children may learn through emergent creative outdoor play, and considers the benefits and needed re emergence of this nature-based approach in society for all children in primary school education. The Outdoor Kindergarten model is an approach that is both current and authentic in its practice of place-based education and land-based learning. Potential benefits associated with implementing an Outdoor Kindergarten model in urban areas, which celebrate land-based teaching are discussed. In addition, Indigenous students in particular have had many challenges, beyond much of their control, connecting with the Canadian school system, as many do not see themselves nor their culture reflected within the current curriculum. Indigenous children have experienced their environment through teachings, ceremonies, exploration, and outdoor play for centuries before colonization and the eventual implementation of residential schools. Outdoor Kindergarten and play-based concepts offer particular value to these communities. In this article we provide powerful vignettes illustrating how Outdoor Kindergarten concepts can meet Newfoundland and Labrador curricular outcomes while addressing cultural curriculum and also develop inspiring inquiries on the land. In our article, we show how emergent land-based programming can support a strong sense of self, place, and community. It is the view of the authors that the Outdoor Kindergarten model also has the opportunity to support First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children culturally, socially, and academically.

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