Children’s outdoor movement education: position statement
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Physical Education and Sport (JPES). 2021, 451-462. 10.7752/jpes.2021.s1046
This position statement follows to the thematic round table organized by S.I.E.M.eS. (Italian Society of Movement and Sport Education) as final event of the international congress on "Outdoor movement education" held in Bozen, Italy, december 3-5, 2020.Today's lifestyle with interesting electronic devices attracts young children to spend time inside instead going out to play in a physically active manner. At the same time, recent research evidencehasshownthat outdoor active play (outdoor play) offers multiple advantages to children's development and health. In December 2020, the University of Bozen organized an international congress on the relevance ofoutdoor movement education and outdoorplay. The Congress ended with a round table discussionof the different approaches to outdoor movement education practiced in Europe, and theneed for a common position statement was agreed on that would involve other scientists who participated in the Congress. The position statement is based on comparison of the different practices in European countries and is aimed at defining a consensus in terms of approaches and terminology for outdoor movement education that may be shared between European educators. The comparative analysis was conducted between different regions of Europe: south (Italy), middle (Wales and Belgium, Wallonia), and north (Finland, Iceland and Norway). Comparisons of the different regions were based on official national documents, including laws, educational curriculums, andresearch findings.Results revealed that some regions, mostly the Nordic Countries, have a strong outdoor culture on which the official national documents are based. In these countries, the outdoor environment is included in teacher education programmes and national curriculums for early education and elementary school. This is not the case everywhere in Europe, where other countries are now starting to spread the outdoor culture in the school environment. On the other hand, there is a need for more research-based knowledge about the amount and types of children's outdoor movement in all regions, including the most advanced ones.With this position statement, the Congress participants and organizers underscore the need to increase the knowledge of the importance of outdoor play in supporting children's motor development and holistic development. There is a compelling need to change official documents to guarantee adequate possibilities for outdoor movement education and outdoor active play. The outdoor environment should become part of the daily pedagogical routineof children, and special care should be given to active movement. The aim of this position statement is to help to reach a consensus in the educational community that must act in collaboration with multiple sociocultural players and stakeholders (at local, national and European levels) and be driven by scientific research.