This paper reports on the findings of a research project investigating children's experiences of their local environments. Children's experiences of spaces and places and the interaction of such experiences and their learning were investigated, using mixed research methods, informed by phenomenological and participatory methodologies.
Through these activities including discussion, interviews and drawing, children described how they experienced affordances of spaces, places and people in a range of ways. The children also revealed varied and dynamic attitudes to their local environments.
Children's use and opinions of the environment were influenced by temporal, physical, social and economic factors. As well as expressing that such local experiences enhanced their current lives, the children also described how experiences in their local environment contributed to the different areas of their development, including their learning. For most children, such experiences emanated from outside school, with learning in geography in school more likely to be about places farther from home.
These findings suggest that attempts to make children's geographies in their local environments central to primary geography through content and activities like many of those outlined in the Primary School Curriculum would be successful. The children's views also suggest that the contributions of all children could be used in decision-making beyond schools. Such consideration and development of children's geographies has the potential to contribute to children's lives as active citizens, currently and in the future.