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Froebel and McMillan’s theories of out door play, playing in the natural world: benefits and values for children today.
Write an essay of 3500 words on a theoretical analysis of an aspect of practice today in early childhood education nurseries and analyze its historical roots.
Abstract: (50 words)

The purpose and aim of the essay.
Reason of topic choice.
My argument.

In this essay I will be critically analyzing Friedrich Froebel’s and Margaret McMillan’s ideas and pedagogy of playing out door and playing in the natural world. I will compare and contrast both theoretical and practical elements of their pioneering ideas. This will include linking them with the different aspects of children’s development, while illustrating recent and up to date use of outdoor play in the natural world.
Froebel and McMillan

Discussion on main principles and concepts of Froebel’s and McMillan out door and playing in the natural world theory. (Outdoor play for learning, learning about nature, exploration, physical health and development, nature as a source of goodness, and many more) + (McMillan implemented Froebel’s ideas in a different context in an attempt to develop this study + McMillan was an active member of the Froebel society for some years as well)


Similarities and differences of approach and ideas (i.e. religious motivation, poverty and difficult circumstances, learning about nature, and advocating physical health and wellbeing).


Comparative analysis on the way both implemented and put to practice their theories. (i.e. play in the natural world, bring back objects and animals to investigate and explore + eat, sleep, play, and learn outdoors in the garden).

The value and benefits of playing out door in the natural world in early years

Action and direct observation as the best ways to educate.
Learning through practice and experience with direct contact with nature and the environment.
Develop sense of responsibilities.
Understand different worlds, explore their environment, and develop positive relations with their peers and the environment.

Current and up to date practices of outdoor play and playing in the natural world

Discussing and illustrating practices nowadays.
Providing examples of schools and practices (i.e. Outdoor play grounds in schools, and Forest Schools).
EYFS and obligations (i.e. not necessary to provide outdoor playing area and garden to open a nursery?!).
Is today’s outdoor play in the natural world in schools as similar as what Froebel and McMillan planned for? What would be the ideal practices?


Ailwood, J., (2007) Motherhood, maternalism and early childhood education: Some historical connections, In J. Ailwood (Ed.), Early childhood in Australia: Historical and comparative contexts. Frenchs Forest: Pearson Education Australia.
Cutter-Mackenzie, A., Edwards, S., Moore, D., and Boyd, W., (2014) Young children’s play and environmental education in early childhood education, Gewerbestrasse: Springer International Publishing AG.
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Froebel, F., (1887) The Education of Man, (W.N. Hailmann, Trans.). London: D. Appleton-Century Company.
Froebel, F., (1888) Autobiography of Friedrich Froebel, trans. E. Michaelis and H.Keatley Moore, 2nd, London: Swan Sonnenschein
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Hendrick, H., (2003) Child Welfare: Historical dimensions, contemporary debates, Bristol: Policy Press.
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Moss, S., (2012) Natural childhood, available at : http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/children-and-nature (accessed: 20/03/2016)
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Read, J., (2011) “Gutter to garden: historical discourses of risk in interventions in working class children’s street play”, Children and Society, 25 no. 6. pp. 421-434. Available at: https://moodle.roehampton.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/154292/mod_resource/content/1/Read%202011.pdf                                                                                               (accessed: 25/03/2016)

Read, J., (2015) “Transformation and regulation: a century of continuity in nursery”, school and welfare policy rhetoric, Journal of Education Policy, Vol. 30 no.1. pp. 39-61. Available at: https://moodle.roehampton.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/154302/mod_resource/content/1/Read%202015%20JEP%20%2002680939.2014.pdf                                          (accessed: 25/03/2016)

Rogers, S. (Ed.)., (2011) Rethinking play and pedagogy in early childhood education: concepts, contexts and cultures, Albingdon, England; New York: Routledge.
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1- Annan The Froebel School
URL http://www.annanschool.co.uk/
2- Project Wild Thing
Children exploring the natural world
3- Forest schools websiteURL
Children learning outdoors
4- Community Playthings
Follow the links to their learning library articles, including on block play, and their case studies of a range of early years settings.
5- Wingate Community Nursery SchoolURL
Ofsted rated ‘outstanding’.

community nursery school

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