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Fiona Exon
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Call for Papers - 19th Conference of the European Institute for Outdoor Adventure Education and Experiential Learning

Conference - Theme: Childhood and Nature

14th until 18th of October 2020 in Marburg/Germany

The forthcoming EOE conference in 2020 will be hosted by bsj Marburg, a non-profit youth work organisation in Germany. The EOE Network is a vibrant association of practitioners and academics and this four-day conference will reflect that mix with practitioner case studies, practical workshops and academic presentations. It is a key networking event for social and youth workers, teachers and educators, students and academics from across Europe.

The conference will be held under the topic "Childhood and Nature". Since one main focus is intended to be on considering the educational institutions of kindergarden, school and youth welfare in their function as companions to the develop-mental processes of children, we will look at the childhood phase between the ages of three and eleven. Seen from the point of view of developmental psychology, this is the phase of separation and individuation following the early symbiotic connection with the mother up to the threshold to adolescence. Moreover, it is the timeof children's increasing desire to become more and more self-determined in their actions, even if these are as yet small in scope. The family still provides enough security to support this desire. At the point of starting school this striving for autonomyreceives its epistemic endowment. The desire of the child to act independently is stabilised and, at the same time, fostered by an energetic habitus formation, which, in the ideal case, is characterised by curiosityand thirst for knowledge, willingness to take risks, exploration drive, great powers of imagination, openness to the world, optimism and self-confidence.

Where children also have access to (more or less)open nature,their urge for autonomy can find attractive playful practice opportunities innatural places and atmospheres and with natural things.Watercourses, ponds, puddles, hedgerows, thickets, glades, trees, wild flowers, fallows, wind and storm, rain and snow, half-light and moonlight, fog and mist, the phenological year arebrimful with opportunities for both boys and girls designed to foster the children's habitus of openness. Here they can search and find, observe, constructand build, climb, collect and put into order, discover and explore, prove themselves, fail, whittle, recognise and describe. They need all their senses to perceive everything they encounter in their specific details. And at the end their hearts are full to bursting with their experiences and feelings, which they have to tell and tell and tell.

This short sketch marks out the framework within which the discussions, workshops, lectures, poster presentations, forums and debates are supposed to be held. In order to fill these outlined features of the event we are looking for contributions to the following topic areas:

• about the experience potentials of natural places, things and atmospheres

• about practice forms in natural places, with things and in specific atmospheres•about the transitions between family to kindergarden & kindergardento school

• about nature-related familywelfare work

• about practice forms in natural places with educational institutions like kinder-garden, school and youthwork

• about "low-threshold" therapeutical practise forms for children in natural places


For further information please contact:

Peter Wilde, bsj Marburg, 0049/6421/6853315,

For more information about bsj Marburg e.V. visit:

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