The Wildlife Trusts recently commissioned a study by the Institute of Education at UCL to show how a daily one-hour nature boost has a positive effect on children’s wellbeing.
One of the largest studies of its kind, the research focused on primary school children in 12 areas across the UK. Outdoor activities during the study included learning about nature, such as identifying plants and trees, reflecting on their important role in our lives and considering the needs of wildlife habitats.
The results confirmed that children’s wellbeing increased significantly after they had spent time connecting with nature, with 90% reporting they learned something new about the natural world. In addition, after their activities 84% of children felt that they were capable of doing new things when they tried, 79% felt more confident in themselves and 81% agreed that they had better relationships with their teachers and class-mates.
The Wildlife Trusts believe every child should have the opportunity to experience the joy of wildlife and is calling on government to recognise the multiple benefits of nature for children. They would like to ensure that at least one hour per school day is spent outdoors learning and playing in wild places.
Professor Michael Reiss, Institute of Education, UCL, says:
“Each generation seems to have less contact with the outdoors than the preceding one. We owe it to all young people to reverse this trend – for their sakes, for our sakes and for nature’s sake.”
Main image: Primary school pond dipping (c) Penny Dixie
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