1st Edition

Nature, Spirituality, and Early Childhood Education Fostering Children’s Awareness and Responsibility through Outdoor Learning

By Ruth Wills Copyright 2025
    104 Pages
    by Routledge

    This novel volume delves into a specific and crucial aspect of early years pedagogy – the intersection between early childhood education and spirituality, offering tips on nurturing spirituality and a sense of connectedness with nature through outdoor learning.

    With experience both as a scholar and a teacher, the author delves into the ontological and epistemological issues related to outdoor learning and education while keeping accessibility and sustainability at the centre of the volume. Chapters take a comprehensive approach to the exploration of children's innate spirituality and their connection with nature in the context of early childhood education, fusing elements such as a critique of early years policy with philosophy of education and children’s mental health. Using a robust theoretical foundation incorporating philosophical figures such as Froebel, McMillan, Montessori, Dewey and Freire, as well as the inclusion of practical examples from educational settings designed for real-world scenarios, this book reinvigorates the conversation around the holistic development of children by emphasizing the importance of nature and child-centred pedagogies.

    Ultimately exploring avenues that can foster a sense of well-being and social responsibility in children, the book will be of interest to researchers, educators and teacher trainers in the field of early childhood education, environmental education, philosophy of education and teacher education. Policy makers and school leaders may also benefit from this volume.

    Preamble. Children’s spirituality in the outdoor space: seven vignettes.

    Chapter One. Children’s spirituality, nature and Early Childhood policy.

    Chapter Two. Children’s spirituality, nature and frameworks of understanding.

    Chapter Three. Children’s spirituality, nature and Early Childhood foundations.

    Chapter Four. Children’s spirituality, nature and Early Childhood practice.

    Chapter Five. Children’s spirituality, nature and pedagogy.

    Chapter Six. Children’s spirituality and nature: recommendations for policy and practice.


    Ruth Wills is Lecturer in Early Childhood, School of Education, Liverpool Hope University, UK, and part-time teacher in a Primary School.