Theorists such as John Dewey wrote about experiential learning in relation to the importance of learning in place. John Dewey, an American psychologist, philosopher, educator, social critic and political activist, felt that education should be rooted in a child’s experience. Dewey (1916) felt that, “Education is not an affair of ‘telling’ and being told, but an active and constructive process” (p. 46). Children and educators can be co-constructors of pedagogy that emerges from nature and takes place in place. Place-based educators often refer to Dewey as their ideological ancestor, as his support for democracy, experience and the learning environment connects to their theories (Jayanandhan, 2009). Dewey influenced David Hawkins, another theorist that we introduce in this module (2007). There are connections between Dewey’s ideas of experience, environment and democracy to the theories of Edward O. Wilson.
Examining and learning from other theorists’ supports early learning teachers in connecting theory to practice and the importance of the pedagogy of place and nature pedagogy to children’s outdoor play.