The Language of Trees

Families resource

The Project

This project strand worked with families with pre-school children in South Yorkshire. By paying attention to what can happen between young children and trees, our aim was to show and celebrate the wide range of interesting ways in which children make meaning in treescapes.

What did we do?

We worked with community playgroups in an urban location in South Yorkshire, over a two years period, meeting with families and young children to play and explore in parks and green spaces local to them. Fieldwork involved lots of mooching about, hanging out, being together and letting things unfold. This approach made space for the children to take the lead. We often offered an optional, more structured activity (such as a scavenger hunt or craft activity) to help families engage and make sense of the session. 

Why is this important?

We believe very young children should be involved in conversations about environmental futures, but that they communicate differently, so they need to be involved differently. Young children tend to show us what they think, rather than tell us with words. ‘Listening’ to children through their movement and play, as well as anything they say to us, is the starting point. This research will help inform educators and parents who want to support young children to understand more about the natural world and their role in it.