Developing social interactions through outdoor education in multicultural preschool settings : Teachers’ perspectives

University essay from Högskolan i Jönköping/Förskolepedagogisk-didaktisk forskning

Abstract: The aim of this study was to identify and investigate preschool teachers’ experiences and views on the role of outdoor education on social interactions. The research questions were: How do the teachers conceptualize outdoor activities’ role on social interactions in multicultural preschool settings? How do the teachers foster social interactions through outdoor education? What kind of challenges have the teachers faced regarding outdoor education in multicultural preschool groups? Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five preschool teachers from three different preschools in a multicultural suburb in southern Sweden. The results showed that – despite children’s possible aversions to engaging in activities in the outdoors - outdoor activities are supportive of the development of closer bonds within the group. According to the teachers interviewed, the natural settings bring calmness and openness, therefore this environment facilitates social interactions among children. The lack of strictly preplanned activities offer children opportunities to follow their interests and to have shared experiences through the discovery of nature. Their willingness for collaborative explorations is a basis for joint play, discussion and group work.

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