Celebrating the importance of connections and relationships between children and nature.

The child should experience nature ‘in all its aspects –
form, energy, substance, sound and colour.


Experience and understanding of nature were central to Froebel’s ideas.

Froebel emphasised that children should experience all aspects of nature, not just plants and animals. One of the best ways children can experience nature, he argued, is through their play outdoors in the garden and in the wider natural environment.

Through real life experiences, children learn about the interrelationship of all living things. This helps them to think about the bigger questions of the environment, sustainability and climate change.

Resources for educators:

FT Nature Campaign Logo RGB

"We have a crisis in our relationship with nature. Children are increasingly disconnected from the natural world and their access to green and wild spaces is rapidly declining. We are discovering the devastating impact of human activity on our world.In seeking to renew our relationship with nature, the ideas of Friedrich Froebel, a 19th century German educator and creator of the kindergarten, are timely. He saw the kindergarten as a garden for children, a place where children can develop at their own pace, nurtured by knowledgeable and supportive adults."

Helen Tovey in An introduction to Froebel, children and nature (January 2022)


This Froebel Trust podcast episode (released in June 2023) explores outdoor play and young children's connections with nature.

How can schools and early years settings support outdoor play for young children now? And, what if your setting is in the middle of the city or has very limited access to outdoor space?

Observing nature, observing children

An article by Ellen Hobday considers the connections between spending time in nature and observing young children.

Learn more


A recording of a short presentation by Felicity Thomas (Froebel Trust Travelling Tutor) exploring ways we can support young children to learn about "...the interconnectedness of living things..."

Recorded in November 2022.

Latest research:

We fund research into the learning and development of babies and young children. Research which looks at play, the natural world, respectful pedagogy, responsive and nurturing relationships, high quality education and training.

Developing an ECEC response to the global environmental crisis

This research report was commissioned by the Froebel Trust to explore Froebel’s ideas about children and nature in the context of the 21st century emergency in climate change and biodiversity. The researchers outline a new ‘nature engaging and nature enhancing’ (NENE) pedagogy for early childhood education and care. First published in December 2022.

Download the report now.

Find out about practical ways that educators can adopt a Froebelian-inspired NENE pedagogy

The Froebel Partnership (funded by the Froebel Trust) is currently researching how young children use natural spaces outdoors. Find out more about this project: Engaging with nature - An exploration of Froebelian principles in the natural outdoor environment.

Recent Froebel Trust funded research projects all about children and nature:

Explore our online research library

Discover lots more nature related research projects

Browse our research


Top tips and practical advice for educators and carers interested in supporting young children’s outdoor play from Naomi Clarke.

Recorded at our Spring Webinar - Children & Nature - April 2022

Want to know more about Froebel, nature and outdoor play?

Further reading suggestions

"If we enable the children in our care to foster a healthy vibrant relationship with the natural world, we give them the keys to become the future guardians of the Earth."

Helen d'Ascoli and Debby Hunter
Re-engaging with nature, Froebel Trust pamphlet