This ULF project focuses on the importance of place for language and knowledge development in natural environments, i.e. how nature's many qualities and phenomena stimulate children's language in different ways.

The study originates in the ERASMUS+ project Early Language Development in Nature (ELaDiNa), and has continued in the spring of 2023 through group discussions with preschool teachers working in Jönköping.

Purpose and research questions

The main aim is to explore teachers' experiences of the impact of the natural environment on children's language learning – including communicative ability and motivation, language comprehension, vocabulary and pronunciation.


Data collection has taken place partly through questionnaires with closed and open questions (with Swedish, German and Slovenian teachers within the ELaDiNa project), partly through group discussions at six workshops with preschool teachers active in Jönköping.

Preliminary results

According to the survey, the teachers believed that natural environments with the presence of sticks and branches were most important for stimulating children's language, closely followed by wild animals and sand. Sticks and branches were believed to promote speech, communication and dialogue. In the slightly older children, sticks and branches helped to expand children's vocabulary and knowledge of grammar, such as comparisons and comparisons. With sticks, the children could also create letters and text.

Wild animals evoked feelings of curiosity and excitement in both preschool and school-age children; they encouraged oral language development by making the children want to call attention and share what they have seen, ask questions and describe. Sand encourages creativity and imagination. With sand and water, children design and build everything from cakes to castles, while commenting or describing to other children and adults what they are building. Through cooperation, the children learn languages from each other.

In the group discussions with the preschool teachers, several examples were added of how children's language developed when the natural environment significantly increased their joy and stimulated their imagination, in comparison to staying indoors.