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Spending time in nature creates confidence in children
Many children rarely come into contact with wild nature or with local plants and animals. Instead, they spend a lot of time in closed rooms and in front of digital devices. But spending time in nature could have considerable advantages for her psyche. For example, a recent study by researchers at University College London (UCL) found that four out of five children feel more confident after taking part in outdoor activities, for example.
The research team explains that children's access to nature can be restricted by their place of residence and various other factors. Through targeted stays in nature during school time, however, at least a slight compensation can be created here. According to the current study, learning about nature in nature and identifying animals and plants during outdoor activities also strengthens the self-confidence of many children. The study was carried out on behalf of "The Wildlife Trusts" and published under the title "Children and Nature".
Effects of nature stays examined
Based on 451 children from 12 areas of England who took part in outdoor activities and answered different questions before and after the activities, the researchers analyzed the effects of nature stays on the psyche of the children, how they deal with each other and their motivation for learning and the relationship with the teachers.
What were the benefits?
The data analysis showed that
- 79 percent of the participants saw the experience of outdoor activities as helpful for school work,
- 81 percent assumed that staying in nature could improve the relationship with the teachers,
- 79 percent assumed that relationships with their classmates would benefit,
- 84 percent of children saw themselves able to do new things after the nature stays if they only tried.
Learning content linked to pleasant experiences
“For some children, visiting nature with their school can offer opportunities that they would otherwise not be able to use,” emphasize the researchers. The stays in nature can be used to convey points of the curriculum and at the same time offer pleasant and useful experiences, the research team continues.
Less and less contact with nature
“Every generation seems to have less contact with nature than the previous one. We owe it to all young people to reverse this trend - for their own sake, for our own sake and for the sake of nature, ”emphasizes Professor Michael Reiss from the UCL Institute of Education. All children should therefore have the opportunity to deal with nature.
Diverse benefits for the children
The current study showed that children experience multiple benefits through regular contact with nature, adds Nigel Doar from The Wildlife Trusts. "The contact with nature improves the well-being, motivation and self-confidence of the children", continues Doar. The data also show that relationships with teachers and classmates also benefit.
A school lesson every day in nature
"We urge the government to recognize the multiple benefits nature has for children - and to ensure that at least one hour a day outdoors is spent learning and playing in wild places," emphasizes Nigel Doar. (fp)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters
- The Wildlife Trusts: Children and Natur - A research evaluation for The Wildlife Trusts (published November 2019), wildlifetrusts.org
- University College London: Spending time in nature can improve children’s confidence (published 07.11.2019), ucl.ac.uk