We aim to inspire pupils about the natural world through hands-on experience

New report shows how nature nurtures children


Monday 18 November, 2019


Norfolk Wildlife Trust calls for every child to have a daily one-hour nature boost

The Wildlife Trusts commissioned a study by the Institute of Education at UCL to evaluate the impact that experiencing nature has upon children. The study focused on more than 450 primary school children and the effects of Wildlife Trust-led activities on their wellbeing. This is one of the largest studies into the effects of outdoor activities on children’s wellbeing and views about nature.

Overall, the research revealed that children’s wellbeing increased after they had spent time connecting with nature: the children showed an increase in their personal wellbeing and health over time; they showed an increase in nature connection and demonstrated high levels of enjoyment. The children also gained educational benefits as well as wider personal and social benefits:
  • 90% of children felt they learned something new about the natural world
  • 79% felt that their experience could help their school work
  • After their activities 84% of children felt that they were capable of doing new things when they tried
  • 79% of children reported feeling more confident in themselves
  • 81% agreed that they had better relationships with their teachers
  • 79% reported better relationships with their class-mates

Nigel Doar, The Wildlife Trusts’ director of strategy said:
“This research shows that children experience profound and diverse benefits through regular contact with nature. Contact with the wild improves children’s wellbeing, motivation and confidence. The data also highlights how children’s experiences in and around the natural world led to better relationships with their teachers and class-mates.”

Pamela Abbott, Chief Executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust said:
“It’s so good to see this research highlighting the very many ways in which children benefit from connecting with nature. It’s particularly heartening to see that the largest benefit from time outdoors was felt by children who hadn’t previously had much contact with nature. As well as improving children’s wellbeing, connecting children with nature increases their awareness of environmental issues. The research emphasises the importance Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s work with young people and in particular the work that we do with Sure Start Centres around the county introducing children to the natural world at the very start of their lives and bringing them the joy and wonder of wildlife. It adds weight to The Wildlife Trusts’ call for daily time with nature to be included in the school curriculum.”

In Norfolk last year, 8,148 school children took part in education activities with Norfolk Wildlife Trust in schools and on NWT nature reserves. The activities involved children learning about nature, such as identifying plants and trees, reflecting on their important role in our lives and considering the needs of wildlife habitats. All education work aims to inspire pupils about the natural world through hands-on experience and encourage a caring approach for Norfolk’s wildlife.


Lessons from nature

The UCL research team studied children participating in outdoor activities with their local Wildlife Trust, ranging from a single activity, to a series of activities over the course of several weeks. 451 children (mostly 8-9 years of age) in 12 areas across England took part by completing surveys before and after they participated in outdoor activities. Additionally, teachers, Wildlife Trust educators and 199 of the children were also observed by the UCL research team and interviewed about their experiences.

The nature connection of the children was also measured. Nature connection refers to the level at which a person considers nature to be a part of their identity, reflecting their emotional closeness to the natural world. Nature connection essentially includes a love of nature and care and concern for the environment.

Professor Michael Reiss, Institute of Education, UCL, said:
“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.”

 

Follow these links for the summary, Nature Nurtures Children, and the final research report, Children and Nature

NWT
Share this

Top news stories

2020-04-08 New guide encourages us all to New guide encourages us all to take urgent action for insects
Wednesday 08 April, 2020
Norfolk Wildlife Trust is launching a new practical pack, Your Guide to Taking Action for Insects, which will help ev...
2020-04-03 Pay and display machines to be Pay and display machines to be installed at Cley Marshes
Friday 03 April, 2020
Car park charges for some visitors will be introduced at Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Cley and Salthouse Marshes, t...
2020-04-02 Tune in to wildlife during tou Tune in to wildlife during tough times
Thursday 02 April, 2020
Discover wonderful online nature activities and tune in to wildlife at home this spring – new activities from N...
2020-03-22 Coronavirus and Norfolk Wildli Coronavirus and Norfolk Wildlife Trust
Sunday 22 March, 2020
​Update: Friday 27 March We have made the decision to extend the closure of our visitor centres until 30 June 2020 a...
2020-03-12 Grow a secret garden for butte Grow a secret garden for butterflies!
Thursday 12 March, 2020
This year’s Wild About Gardens campaign, run jointly by The Wildlife Trusts and Royal Horticultural Society (RH...
2020-03-06 Council must seize opportuniti Council must seize opportunities for the environment
Friday 06 March, 2020
Norfolk Wildlife Trust will ask the Greater Norwich planning team to follow the lead of other Councils and set strong...
2020-03-05 Government gives badgers a rep Government gives badgers a reprieve
Thursday 05 March, 2020
Today the Government set out the next phase of their strategy to combat bovine tuberculosis. The Wildlife Trusts &nda...
2020-02-28 Celebrating 25 years of clean Celebrating 25 years of clean clear water
Friday 28 February, 2020
A reed cutting day, country crafts and bat and moth evenings on boats are just some of the celebration events planned...
2020-02-11 HS2 decision will destroy prec HS2 decision will destroy precious wild places
Tuesday 11 February, 2020
Today the Government gave the green light to the High Speed 2 rail project, without acknowledging the devastating imp...
2020-02-03 NDR Western Link - Net Gain is NDR Western Link - Net Gain is not enough
Monday 03 February, 2020
The inclusion of Defra’s targets for ‘Biodiversity Net Gain’ in Norfolk County Council’s prop...
2020-02-02 World Wetlands Day World Wetlands Day
Sunday 02 February, 2020
The preservation of Norfolk’s wetlands depends on active, ongoing management, says Norfolk Wildlife Trust on Wo...
2020-01-31 Government’s landmark Environm Government’s landmark Environment Bill finally returns to Parliament
Friday 31 January, 2020
The Environment Bill is an important first step towards nature’s recovery, but several crucial improvements are...