Trevor Roach says young children need the four Es: early essential environmental experiences.
The outdoor learning expert says that if they get the four Es, they will instinctively want to start learning and using basic skills.
"After they have dug up their potatoes, the next thing they will want to do is to count them - an urge to develop maths skills.
"You can't give them an environmental experience by showing them a picture of a caterpillar in a book. But if you show them a real caterpillar eating a leaf, they will be desperate to read and write about it."
Mr Roach gives more examples of the four Es:
- Growing food.
- Going blackberry picking.
- Making mud pies.
- Collecting twigs and stones.
- Splashing through puddles.
- Building a den.