Benefits of using the local environment

Using the local environment enables children to develop a sense of belonging to the local community. It helps them to develop a sense of place which in turn will develop their feelings of security, and “strong bonds to a particular place endure” (Hay, 1998 in Jack, 2010). Through developing this sense of place, it leads to having a pride in their local community. As MacIntyre (2007) says, “place marks us all and leaves its traces”.

By developing a sense of place, children can begin to take some responsibility for looking after certain aspects of it. They can be included in problem solving and to learn about environmental issues in meaningful situations. By having repeated visits to the same place they can begin to identify features that change over time as well as those that remain the same. For example, a deciduous tree will alter as the seasons progress over time, however an evergreen tree will more or less remain the same. The built environment provides many opportunities to think about the different professions people are involved with.

Children learn best through first-hand experiences and going out into the local environment, or even further afield, enables children to explore and experience the different features found locally to them. Using these first-hand experiences enables children to develop a deeper comprehension of the Understanding the World Area of Learning particularly People and Communities and The World.

Stoke, like many places, has a richness of geographical features from the canals, factories both old and new, to open spaces. It is this richness that provides so many different opportunities for learning outside the setting. By using these spaces with interested and motivated adults will enable children to “catch” the interest and gain a sense of ownership of being part of the local environment, and a pride in their locality.

Further reading

Overcoming barriers

An early task for the Exploring the Wider World project was to identify the barriers to taking children out and about beyond the setting. Only

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Taking risks

Risk is a natural part of our existence, as we look to explore and make sense of the world around us. What is key is

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Planning trips out

This page brings together all the key project elements of thinking through a trip or a visit in one handy place, with downloadable resources for

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Your resources

Meaningful learning opportunities relating to understanding the world rely on rich and stimulating resources. Consider what you have Rich and well thought out resources make

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Taking 4-year-olds out

Most 4-year-olds can walk faster and further than their younger counterparts. This means that they can venture further afield than the three year olds in

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Using social media

Social media is a powerful tool for sharing examples of good practice and celebrating achievements – but there potential pitfalls, particularly relating to consent. We

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Cultural capital

This article by Early Education Associate Anni McTavish explores the term “cultural capital”, and what it might mean for early years practitioners and their settings.

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Transition is part of the maturation process. Most children and their families find moving from one stage to the next seamless. Transitions need careful planning and will

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