Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education

Reconnecting Children with Nature: Foundation and Growth of the Nature Schools Movement in Iran
Edgar Alan Burns 1 * , Bahar Manouchehri 2
More Detail
1 University of Waikato, NEW ZEALAND
2 La Trobe University, AUSTRALIA
* Corresponding Author
Research Article

Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2021 - Volume 17 Issue 3, Article No: e2244
https://doi.org/10.21601/ijese/10934

Published Online: 27 May 2021

Views: 719 | Downloads: 369

How to cite this article
APA 6th edition
In-text citation: (Burns & Manouchehri, 2021)
Reference: Burns, E. A., & Manouchehri, B. (2021). Reconnecting Children with Nature: Foundation and Growth of the Nature Schools Movement in Iran. Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 17(3), e2244. https://doi.org/10.21601/ijese/10934
Vancouver
In-text citation: (1), (2), (3), etc.
Reference: Burns EA, Manouchehri B. Reconnecting Children with Nature: Foundation and Growth of the Nature Schools Movement in Iran. INTERDISCIP J ENV SCI ED. 2021;17(3):e2244. https://doi.org/10.21601/ijese/10934
AMA 10th edition
In-text citation: (1), (2), (3), etc.
Reference: Burns EA, Manouchehri B. Reconnecting Children with Nature: Foundation and Growth of the Nature Schools Movement in Iran. INTERDISCIP J ENV SCI ED. 2021;17(3), e2244. https://doi.org/10.21601/ijese/10934
Chicago
In-text citation: (Burns and Manouchehri, 2021)
Reference: Burns, Edgar Alan, and Bahar Manouchehri. "Reconnecting Children with Nature: Foundation and Growth of the Nature Schools Movement in Iran". Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education 2021 17 no. 3 (2021): e2244. https://doi.org/10.21601/ijese/10934
Harvard
In-text citation: (Burns and Manouchehri, 2021)
Reference: Burns, E. A., and Manouchehri, B. (2021). Reconnecting Children with Nature: Foundation and Growth of the Nature Schools Movement in Iran. Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 17(3), e2244. https://doi.org/10.21601/ijese/10934
MLA
In-text citation: (Burns and Manouchehri, 2021)
Reference: Burns, Edgar Alan et al. "Reconnecting Children with Nature: Foundation and Growth of the Nature Schools Movement in Iran". Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, vol. 17, no. 3, 2021, e2244. https://doi.org/10.21601/ijese/10934
ABSTRACT
The Nature Schools movement in Iran commenced in 2014 and expanded steadily for half a decade, growing to almost 100 schools. Emulating similar educational inititives in Europe and North America, Nature Schools offered outdoor educational experiences for pre-school and primary school years, spreading across both metropolitan and regional Iran. Before the first Nature Schools were started, detailed initial planning between academics and the government Environment Department and Education Ministry was undertaken which projected the roll-out of many more Nature Schools. The results of this study demonstrated that the establishment and growth pattern of the Iranian Nature Schools had different causes stimulating its commencement, how these schools released a new pedagogical practice for teachers, children and their families and how this movement offered an alternative curriculum in nature with school children outdoors. Thus, despite the eclipse of the Nature School movement, a longer time-frame indicates positive aspects, including the establishment of green or eco-schools and the institutionalization of the environmental focus in pre-school education. Many educators saw Nature Schools benefitting students’ personal learning and academic development. Political concerns after several years of growth led to some closures and slowing down of the growth of Nature Schools in 2018-19. At the same time, a new national environmental curriculum was being embedded across all age-levels of schooling in Iran.
KEYWORDS
REFERENCES
  • Alhojailan, M. I. (2012). Thematic analysis: A critical review of its process and evaluation. West East Journal of Social Sciences, 1(1), 39-46.
  • Arvidsen, J. (2018). Growing dens. On re-grounding the child–nature relationship through a new materialist approach to children’s dens. Children’s Geographies, 16(3), 279–291. https://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2018.1425371
  • Bal, E., & Kaya, G. (2020). Investigation of forest school concept by forest school teachers’ viewpoints. International Electronic Journal of Environmental Education, 10(2), 167-180.
  • Blackwell, S. (2015). Impacts of long term forest school programmes on children’s resilience, confidence and wellbeing. Acesso em, 30(04), 1-46.
  • Behroozfar, F. (2001). The basics of designing open spaces of the residential areas in concordance with the physical and psychological conditions of the children. Tehran Residential Investigation Center Press.
  • Brownstein, D., & Ravensbergen, S. (2012). Outstanding environmental education programs in North America. Department of Geography, University of British Columbia.
  • Caplow, S., & Thomsen, J. (2019). Significant life experiences and animal-themed education. In Animals in Environmental Education (pp. 237-257). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
  • Chawla, L. (1998). Significant life experiences revisited: A review of research on sources of environmental sensitivity. The Journal of Environmental Education, 29(3), 11-21. https://doi.org/10.1080/00958969809599114
  • Cincotta, R., & Sadjadpour, K. (2017). Iran in transition: the implications of the Islamic Republic’s changing demographics (pp. 1-36). Carnegie Endowment. https://carnegieendowment.org/files/CP324_Iran_in_Transition_Final.pdf
  • Clarke, V., & Braun, V. (2013). Teaching thematic analysis: overcoming challenges and developing strategies for effective learning. The Psychologist, 26(2), 120–123.
  • Cree, J., & McCree, M. (2013). A brief history of forest schools in the UK-part 2. Horizons Magazine, (62), 32–35.
  • Cumming, F., & Nash, M. (2015). An Australian perspective of a Forest School: Shaping a sense of place to support learning. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 15(4), 296–309. https://doi.org/10.1080/14729679.2015.1010071
  • Darling-Hammond, L., Flook, L., Cook-Harvey, C., Barron, B., & Osher, D. (2020). Implications for educational practice of the science of learning and development. Applied Developmental Science, 24(2), 97-140. https://doi.org/10.1080/10888691.2018.1537791
  • Fadaee, S. (2016). Rethinking southern environmentalism. In Understanding southern social movements (pp. 15–26). Routledge.
  • Fadaee, S. (2018). Environmentalism and social change in Iran. In R. Barlow & S. Akbarzadeh (Eds.), Human rights and agents of change in Iran: towards a theory of change (pp. 153–156). Palgrave Macmillan.
  • FB/MG. (2019a, 14 September). Environmental education to be included in pre-primary schools. Tehran Times. https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/440128/Environmental-education-to-be-included-in-pre-primary-schools
  • FB/MG. (2019b, 22 October). First ‘green school’ inaugurated in Tehran. Tehran Times. https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/441406/First-green-school-inaugurated-in-Tehran
  • Gharahbeiglu, M. (2007). Children’s interaction with urban play spaces in Tabriz, Iran. Visual Studies, 22(1), 48–52.
  • Hammerman, W. M. (1987). The impact of outdoor education on American Education. Journal of Outdoor Education, 21, 4–14.
  • Happy Acres. (2020). History of Forest Schools. https://www.happyacresforestschool.com/history-of-forest-schools
  • Harper, N. J. (2017). Outdoor risky play and healthy child development in the shadow of the “risk society”: A Forest and Nature School perspective. Child & Youth Services, 38(4), 318–334. https://doi.org/10.1080/0145935X.2017.1412825
  • Harris, F. (2017). The nature of learning at Forest School: practitioners’ perspectives. Education 3–13, 45(2), 272–291. https://doi.org/10.1080/03004279.2015.1078833
  • Harris, F. (2018). Outdoor learning spaces: the case of Forest School. Area, 50(2), 222–231. https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12360
  • Hedayati, F. (2018, 7 April). Children’s needs and urban spaces. ttp://www.iribnews.ir/fa/news/2061113/نیازهای -کودکان -و-فضاهای -شهری
  • Hordyk, S. R., Dulude, M., & Shem, M. (2015). When nature nurtures children: nature as a containing and holding space. Children’s Geographies, 13(5), 571–588. https://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2014.923814
  • IFP. (2017, 10 August). Nature Schools: Different environment to nurture students. IFPNews. https://ifpnews.com/nature-schools
  • IHRM. (2019, 30 September). Repressive state and low quality of education in Iran. TrackPersia. http://www.trackpersia.com/repressive-state-low-quality-education-iran/
  • Imani, B., Yarmohammadi, K., & Yarmohammadi, K. (2017). Child-friendly cities from the perspective of children (case study: Department of Education Area 1 Ardebil). Journal of Geography and Environmental Studies, 6(21), 7-22.
  • IRNA. (2018a, 14 July). 1st Middle East Nature School opens in Iran. Islamic Republic News Agency. https://en.irna.ir/news/82970664/1st-Middle-East-nature-school-opens-in-Iran
  • IRNA. (2018b). Nature Schools, an opportunity to introduce life skills to children. (Trans. by author from Farsi). Islamic Republic News Agency. https://wwwirnna.ir/news/ زندگي-مهارت-با-كودكان-آشنایي-براي-فرصتي-طبیعت-مدرسه/83024427
  • Jeronen, E., Jeronen, J., & Raustia, H. (2009). Environmental education in Finland—a case study of environmental education in Nature Schools. International Journal of Environmental & Science Education, 4(1), 1–23.
  • Kari, K. (2019, May 6). What is a Nature School? History, activities and successful examples. https://www.bbc.com/persian/iran-49332125
  • Kavikonj. (n.d.). Kavikonj: Nature School website. http://www.findglocal.com/IR/Mashad/1583843818511858/
  • Khodaee, Z, Rafieian, M, Taghvaei, AK & Salehi Amiri, SR (2015). Effective factors on youth satisfaction from public urban spaces in Tehran, Residential Treatment for Children & Youth, 32(1), 19-36.
  • Khabaronline. (2019). What closed the schools of nature: the religious issues or the administrators. Khabaronline News Agency. https://www.khabaronline.ir/news /1289298/چه -چیزی -مدارس -طبیعت -را -تعطیل -کرد -مسائل -شرعی -یا -مدیران -توده –ای
  • Khakshoor, R. (Film-maker). (2016, 2 August). Nature School: documentary on Hossein Vahabzadeh, ecologist and concepteur of Nature School (Farsi with English subtitles). (40.02 mins). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Qys4vRKXuc
  • Leather, M. (2018). A critique of “Forest School” or something lost in translation. Journal of Outdoor & Environmental Education, 21(1), 5–18. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42322-017-0006-1
  • Lockheed, M. E., Verspoor, A. M. (1991). Improving primary education in developing countries. Oxford University Press.
  • Lovell, R. (2009). Evaluation of physical activity at Forest School. http://hdl.handle.net/1842/4146
  • Malekzadeh, S. (2011). Schooled to obey, learning to protest: the ambiguous outcomes of postrevolutionary schooling in the Islamic Republic of Iran. (PhD). Georgetown University.
  • Manner, J., Doi, L., & Laird, Y. (2020). ‘That’s given me a bit more hope’–adolescent girls’ experiences of Forest School. Children’s Geographies, 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2020.1811955
  • Manouchehri, B. (2019). The role of urban planners in inclusion of children in the urban decision-making system: the case of Iran. (PhD). La Trobe University.
  • Mansouri, S. A., & Ghare Bigloo, M. (2012). The quality of open space interaction with children. Journal of MANZAR, 5(25), 20–23. http://www.manzar-sj.com/article_5038_a60b2b9182b65eda02c8df6dab5e7bec.pdf
  • Maynard, T. (2007). Forest Schools in Great Britain: an initial exploration. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 8(4), 320–331. https://doi.org/10.2304/ciec.2007.8.4.320
  • Mehran, G. (1990). Ideology and education in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Compare: A Journal of Comparative & International Education, 20(1), 53–65. https://doi.org/10.1080/0305792900200105
  • Mirzadegi, S. (2019, 17 August). 90 environmental schools have been closed by the Islamic government. http://worldculturalheritagevoices.org/90-environmental-schools-have-been-closed-by-the-islamic-government/
  • MQ/MG. (2016, 25 September). Nature Schools to double in Iran by March. Tehran Times. https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/406713/Nature-schools-to-double-in-Iran-by-March
  • MQ/MG. (2017a, 11 February). 42nd Nature School opens in Iran. Tehran Times. https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/410946/42nd-nature-school-opens-in-Iran
  • MQ/MG. (2017b, 15 May). Iran inaugurates 46th Nature School. Tehran Times. https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/413425/Iran-inaugurates-46th-nature-school
  • Nature Schools Iran. (2020). Comprehensive map of Nature Schools in Iran. Nature Schools Iran website. https://natureschools.ir/
  • Noaparast, K. (2018). Iran’s implicit philosophy of education. Educational Philosophy & Theory, 50(8), 776–785. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131857.2016.1247684
  • Novo, C. (2019). Iran’s water crisis: drought, floods and poor management. https://smartwatermagazine.com/blogs/cristina-novo/irans-water-crisis-drought-floods-and-poor-management
  • O’Brien, L. (2009). Learning outdoors: The forest school approach. Education 3–13, 37(1), 45–60. https://doi.org/10.1080/03004270802291798
  • O’Brien, L., & Murray, R. (2007). Forest School and its impacts on young children: case studies in Britain. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 6(4), 249–265. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2007.03.006
  • Pamuk, D. K., & Ahi, B. (2019). A phenomenological study on the school concept of the children attending the Forest School. Eğitimde Nitel Araştırmalar Dergisi, 7(4), 1386–1407.
  • Rantala, O., & Puhakka, R. (2020). Engaging with nature: Nature affords well-being for families and young people in Finland. Children’s Geographies, 18(4), 490–503. https://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2019.1685076
  • Radiofarda. (2019). Closing of Nature Schools in Iran, due to the opposition of the imitation authorities and the Ministry of Intelligence. Radio Farda. https://www.radiofarda.com/a/the-school-of-nature/30107600.html
  • Ridgers, N. D., Knowles, Z. R., & Sayers, J. (2012). Encouraging play in the natural environment: a child-focused case study of Forest School. Children’s Geographies, 10(1), 49–65. https://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2011.638176
  • Roe, J., & Aspinall, P. (2011). The restorative outcomes of Forest School and conventional school in young people with good and poor behaviour. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 10(3), 205–212. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2011.03.003
  • Salamat News. (2018). The country’s Nature Schools are closed one by one in the absence of law. Salamat News. www.salamatnews.com/news/257717/مدارس-طبیعت-کشور-در-خلأ-قانون%E2%80%8E-یکی-یکی-تعطیل-می%E2%80%8Cشوند
  • SB/MG. (2017b, 2 August). Iran’s 50th Nature School inaugurated. Tehran Times. https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/415624/Iran-s-50th-nature-school-inaugurated
  • Shahrizadeh, S., & Moayedfar, S. (2017). Child-friendly strategic planning with emphasis on children’s creativity (case study: Yazd City). Research and Urban Planning, 8(28), 171-186.
  • Sharifian, M. (2018). Early childhood education in Iran: progress and emerging challenges. International Journal of the Whole Child, 3(1), 30-37.
  • Sheykhi, M. T. (2009). Youth development as a product of social development: a sociological study of youth and development in Iran. Journal of Social Sciences, 18(3), 173–181. https://doi.org/10.1080/09718923.2009.11892679
  • Shobeiri, S., Meiboudi, H., & Kamali, F. (2014). The brief history of environmental education and its changes from 1972 to present in Iran. International Research in Geographical & Environmental Education, 23(3), 228–241. https://doi.org/10.1080/10382046.2014.927169
  • Shokoohi, R., Hanif, N. R., & Dali, M. M. (2011). Children walking to and from school in Tehran: associations with neighborhood safety, parental concerns and children’s perceptions. Asian Journal of Environment-Behaviour Studies, 2(4), 13-25.
  • Staff, S. (2017). Schools shut in Iran capital, major cities due to high pollution. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-pollution-idUSKBN1ED12I
  • Suidman, S. (2018). Triggering political and Social Change in the Iranian Society (Masters thesis). Wageningen University.
  • Swarbrick, N., Eastwood, G., & Tutton, K. (2004). Self‐esteem and successful interaction as part of the Forest School project. Support for Learning, 19(3), 142–146. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0268-2141.2004.00337.x
  • Tasnim News. (2016). Nature Schools: a place to teach life to children. https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1395/09/18/1261580/مدارس -طبیعت -جایی -برای -یاد -دادن -زندگی -به –کودکان
  • Tilbury, D., Adams, K., & Keogh, A. (2005). A national review of environmental education and its contribution to sustainability in Australia: business and industry education. Department of the Environment and Heritage.
  • Tillmann, S., Button, B., Coen, S. E., & Gilliland, J. A. (2019). ‘Nature makes people happy, that’s what it sort of means’: children’s definitions and perceptions of nature in rural Northwestern Ontario. Children’s Geographies, 17(6), 705–718. https://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2018.1550572
  • Tonucci, F & Rissotto, A (2001). Why do we need children’s participation? the importance of children’s participation in changing the city. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 11(6), 407-419.
  • Torkar, G. (2014). Learning experiences that produce environmentally active andinformed minds. NJAS—Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, 69, 49–55.
  • Tribune. (2016a, 20 July). Teaching them young. Financial Tribune. https://financialtribune.com/articles/people-environment/45904/teaching-them-young?utm_campaign=more-like-this
  • Tribune. (2016b, 20 August). Raising environmental awareness in schools. Financial Tribune. https://financialtribune.com/articles/people-environment/48013/raising-environmental-awareness-in-schools
  • Tribune. (2017a, February 7). Connecting with nature from schooltime. Financial Tribune. https://financialtribune.com/articles/people/59100/connecting-with-nature-from-schooltime
  • Tribune. (2017b, 26 February). Nature Schools increase. Financial Tribune. https://financialtribune.com/articles/people/60416/nature-schools-increase
  • Tribune. (2017c, 30 June). Environment to enter Iran school curriculum. Financial Tribune. https://financialtribune.com/articles/people-environment/71425/environment-to-enter-iran-school-curriculum
  • Tribune. (2017d, November 25). Tehran Green Spaces Vanishing. https://financialtribune.com/articles/environment/64826/tehran-green-spaces-vanishing
  • UNICEF. (2018). Shaping urbanization for children, a handbook on child-responsive urban planning.
  • Vahabzadeh, A. (2015, 11 June). The school of nature (18.07mins.) (Farsi with English subtitles and transcript). TEDxKish. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDte6lPfah4
  • Vahabzadeh, A. (2016, August 30). What is taught to children in the school of nature? /conversation with the founder of Nature Schools in Iran. KhabarOnline. https://www.khabaronline.ir/news/561450/
  • Waite, S., Bølling, M., & Bentsen, P. (2016). Comparing apples and pears?: a conceptual framework for understanding forms of outdoor learning through comparison of English Forest Schools and Danish Udeskole. Environmental Education Research, 22(6), 868–892. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2015.1075193
  • Yates, E., & Oates, R. (2019). Young children’s views on play provision in two local parks: a research project by early childhood studies students and staff. Childhood, 26(4), 491–508. https://doi.org/10.1177/0907568219839115
  • Zarghami, E., & Seyed, B. (2019). Natural learning: An observational study of children behavior in Mashhad Kavikonj Nature School. Journal of Technology of Education, 13(3), 387–401. https://doi.org/10.22061/jte.2018.3953.1962
LICENSE
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.