Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Master of Arts




Pacini-Ketchabaw, Veronica


‘Outdoor’ education receives ample attention in early education, as land and dominant developmental discourses fuel promissory outcomes for children as future market driven citizens. What has not received sufficient attention are critical examinations of ‘outdoor education’ that account for persistent colonial-capitalist-neoliberal logics, especially in British Columbia, Canada where ‘outdoor’ education abounds. This thesis explores how early education perpetuates the ongoing creation of colonial pedagogies through a historical analysis of ‘outdoor’ education, and a Discourse-Historical analysis of the 2019 British Columbia Early Learning Framework (BCELF). Addressing three main discourses (quality, citizenship, and well-being and belonging), I underscore the need for anti-colonial efforts to seriously refuse enduring colonial-capitalist-neoliberal ‘outdoor’ program rhetoric and instead nourish just and equitable relations in land-based education.

Summary for Lay Audience

‘Outdoor’ education, which is promoted as teaching and learning ‘on’ and ‘from’ the land, is very popular in early education, especially in the colonially claimed province of British Columbia, Canada. The popularity of this form of education comes from key discourses (ways of understanding and being in the world) that promote the ‘outdoors’ as beneficial to children’s ‘overall’ well-being, development, and learning. These understandings, however, are generated from narrow ideas of what children, childhood, and the ‘outdoors’ entail. That is, although the ‘benefits’ of land based learning may sound innocent and neutral in a political sense, they are far from it. Early education programs were set up to ‘educate’ colonial-settlers and Indigenous children into ‘proper Canadian’ culture and values through dominant Euro-Western ideas on education. Thus, land and early education have an intimate, complex, and political relationship that cannot continue to be ignored. Through an anti-colonial framework, my thesis weaves narratives of Canada’s enduring colonial history with the history of early education in British Columbia, with the hope that more just and equitable ways of teaching, learning, and being may be possible.