2023:Call for Papers for Thematic Issue


Children’s Experiences Outdoors: Education and Community Contexts

Thematic Issue Editor(s):

  • Helen Little, Ph.D., Macquarie University, Australia
  • Mehmet Mart, Ph.D., Necmettin Erbakan University, Turkey
  • Helen Bilton, Ph.D., University of Reading, England
  • Michaela Kadury-Slezak, Ph.D., Levinsky College of Education, Israel

Children’s right to play is enshrined in Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 1990). The early childhood period is a time when children’s values and dispositions towards outdoor play and environments are formed. Children have an intrinsic drive and natural curiosity to explore the world around them and outdoor environments are a key context for this exploration.  Outdoor play and learning provide significant benefits for all aspects of children’s development - physical, cognitive, social and emotional (Brussoni et al., 2015). In particular, access to natural outdoor spaces is associated with enhanced conditions for physical activity, social interaction during the cooperative and creative play that natural areas afford, reduced stress and enhanced self-confidence (Chawla et al., 2014).  

In recognition of the importance of outdoor play and learning experiences in young children’s lives, this special issue of JCES seeks to explore the current provision for outdoor play for children aged birth to 8 years as an essential part of children’s daily environment and life.  We invite papers that report empirical studies, reviews and policy analyses (theoretical papers) related to outdoor play and learning in early childhood education and community contexts. This could include projects involving parents, local groups, urban planning, play streets, playgrounds and so on. The global COVID-19 pandemic has seen increased interest in outdoor play, consequently whilst not limited to, we especially invite papers examining lessons learnt from the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions on children’s access to outdoor environments and play behaviours.  

Scholars are invited to submit proposals that are between 400 and 500 words. Please email these to: jces.editorial@gmail.com and include ‘JCES Special Issue ‘Children’s Experiences Outdoors’ in the ‘subject’ box of your email. The authors of selected proposals will be invited to submit a full paper, which will undergo a double anonymous peer review by the editorial board members and external reviewers.

Key Dates:

  • October 15, 2022: Submit a proposal of no more than 500 words to the following email address jces.editorial@gmail.com
  • December 1, 2022: Abstract proposal decision sent to author/s
  • March 1, 2023: First full paper submission due for review via JCES submission portal.
  • October 2023: Anticipated date for publication


Brussoni, M., Gibbons, R., Gray, C., Ishikawa, T., Sandseter, E. B., Bienenstock, A.,Chabot, G., Fuselli, P., Herrington, S., Janssen, I., Pickett, W., Power, M., Stanger, N., Sampson, M. & Tremblay, M. S. (2015). What is the relationship between risky outdoor play and health in children? A systematic review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12(6), 6423-54. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120606423

Chawla, L., Keena, K., Pevec, I., & Stanley, E. (2014). Green schoolyards as havens from stress and resources for resilience in childhood and adolescence. Health & Place, 28, 1-13. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2014.03.001

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1990). Convention on the rights of the child. https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx