Investigating the potential of outdoor education to enhance the quality of early childhood education and care, and to promote active citizenship.

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About the project

In today's world we face complex educational challenges, such as meeting the needs of children from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Quality Early Childhood Education (ECEC) can be a powerful way of addressing these issues; however, we not only need children to be present but also to ensure their active participation and engagement in high quality social and learning activities.

Hanging OUT! is an ambitious project that explores the use of the outdoor environment in early childhood provision to enhance both the quality of this education and care and to promote active citizenship. It aims to discover the opportunities provided by different outdoor environments, from city streets to mindscapes and from forests to school grounds, while recognising the wide variety in local, cultural and ecological contexts.

An international consortium of partners from Belgium, Portugal, Denmark, Lithuania and the UK is working to give pupils, ECEC professionals and parents the confidence, tools and support to explore, create and experiment with a range of outdoor educational practices. The project aims to establish six associated local networks comprising a Higher Education Institution working in collaboration with a field partner. This brings together expertise, enables co-creation and will create lasting and sustainable impact.

Examples of planned impacts and outputs

The University of Winchester is working in collaboration with a local school in Hampshire, Wallisdean Infant School.

  • We aim to develop an innovative GoPro-video database allowing us to gain insights into interactions between children and the material environment which can be used not only by teachers and parents but also policy makers, architects, etc.
  • Drawing on the video database we also aim to develop reflective materials to support both the initial and in-service professional development of educators, and others such as parents, to discover the richness of outdoor interactions and appreciate their potential for young children’s development and promoting active citizenship.
  • The project outputs will be further developed beyond the lifetime of the project and will be made available using Creative Commons licence.

Hanging OUT! is funded by Erasmus+, the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport, and is a collaboration between the University of Winchester (the UK partner) and partners from Belgium, Portugal, Denmark and Lithuania.

For further information and resources, visit the project website of our Portuguese partner.