Webinar with Professor Jan White: Attached to Nature
Webinar with Professor Jan White
Attached to Nature: Nurturing ecological identity as part of children’s emerging sense of self
Webinar with Q & As
• How could play within ‘everyday nature’ create a sense of identification
with the natural world?
• What makes a young child feel deeply that they are part of nature and
that it is part of them?
• Where does the desire to care for and protect our natural environment
actually come from, and how can nature care for the child?
Jan has been watching young children outdoors for many years and has
noticed several very common themes in what they seem driven to do and how
they need to play – such as hiding, being up high, digging, traveling along
pathways, and collecting stones, shells, sticks and many other items. Jan
remembers frequently doing these same things in her own childhood too. Why
are such behaviours so prevalent? And what might they be doing for the child?
Weaving together the ideas of several investigators into human relationships
with the natural environment, and drawing upon key theories of attachment in
early childhood and Biophilia, Jan has been thinking about her observations of
these common patterns in young children’s play outdoors in terms of the
construction of bonding and identity with the natural world. Her enquiry is
working to understand children’s deep psychological needs and the play
drives that arise from these – to which nature can be the right ‘responder’.
Creating play environments where the natural world provides timely and
relevant responses to these play drives enables the child to feel at home in
the natural world and to be able to draw on nature therapeutically. Such
prolonged experience is likely to nurture identification with nature and the
need to act for environmental stewardship throughout life.
In this webinar, Jan will explore a developing play-based framework which aims
to scaffold the construction of ‘ecological identity’ as part of very young
children’s emerging sense of self – and hopes to open a debate, inviting
questions, comments and further ideas.
Professor Jan White is a leading thinker and writer on outdoor play, advocating for nature-rich outdoor experiences for children from birth to seven. Through forty years in education Jan has developed a deep commitment to the consistently powerful effect of the outdoors on young children. With a childhood love of rocks and soil, leading to a degree in Soil Science, a Masters in Ecology and post-graduate teaching certificate in Science and Outdoor Education, she realises that she has always been, at heart, a committed mudologist!
Date: Friday 16th July 2021
Time: 4.00pm – 5.45pm