The perception of school staff and parents in regard to the ''Enfant Nature'' approach in a Quebec preschool

Article de colloque


État de publication: publié

Titre des actes: Education and new developments 2019 - Volume 1

Éditeur: World Institute for Advanced Research and Science (WIARS)

Intervalle de pages: 323-325


Résumé: Despite the recognized benefits of outdoor free play on children’s physical and psychological well-being, there is a marked decrease of the time spent in these activities. Many factors could explain this, notably early schooling, increased time spent in indoor sedentary activities and the rise of adults’ supervision and concerns related to children’s safety (Strife & Downey, 2009). The Enfant Nature (EN) approach aims to counteract the “nature deficit disorder” (Louv, 2005) with an experiential outdoor education program. It also aims to foster overall children’s development while promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. Over the course of a year, semi-structured interviews were conducted to explore the perceptions of school staff (n=2) and parents (n=8) of 4-year-olds in a preschool class engaged in EN approach. The experimental variables were perceptions related to the EN approach, the potential risk elements and the effects on the overall child’s development. Our findings suggest that overall the participants demonstrated a high level of enthusiasm for EN and discovered a new stimulating way to learn and teach. They quickly concluded that the level of risk in a natural environment was similar to the school. They also reported that EN had been beneficial for children’s cognitive, physical and social-emotional development, particularly for their self-confidence, general knowledge, problem solving, socialization, physical activity level and improvements of motor skills. The positive perceptions of EN and the recognition of its relevance for outdoor free play in learning allows us to be optimistic about the sustainability of this approach.

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