Here’s the latest round up of evidence and reports, policy agenda developments, large scale delivery sector initiatives, resources and news items.  This supports the Strategic Research Network for Learning in Natural Environments and Outdoors for All to develop better coherence and collaboration in research and to improve links between research, policy and practice in these areas.

The following caught our eye:

A framework to assess where and how children connect to nature.
Guisti et al – Frontiers in Psychology
A team of researchers, after identifying qualities that make a nature situation significant for nurturing children’s connections to nature, developed a framework that can be used to assess existing green infrastructure, stimulate the design of nature-connecting human environments, and develop instructional approaches in environmental education.

Assessing the impact of care farms on quality of life and offending: a pilot study among probation service users in England
H Elsey, T Farragher, S Tubeuf, R Bragg, M Elings, C Brennan, R Gold, D Shickle, N Wickramasekera, S Richardson, J Cade, J Murray –  BMJ open
A study to: assess the feasibility of conducting a cost-effectiveness study of using care farms (CFs) to improve quality of life and reduce reoffending among offenders undertaking community orders (COs); to pilot questionnaires to assess quality of life, connection to nature, lifestyle behaviours, health and social-care use; to assess recruitment and retention at 6 months and feasibility of data linkage to Police National Computer (PNC) reconvictions data and data held by probation services.

Neighbourhood greenspace is related to physical activity in England, but only for dog owners
Mathew P. White, Lewis R. Elliott, Benedict W. Wheeler, Lora E. Fleming – Landscape and Urban Planning
Evidence supporting a positive association between neighbourhood greenspace and physical activity is equivocal. Using data from a large, nationally representative survey in England. Rresearchers found that while a positive relationship between the amount of neighbourhood greenspace and the odds of achieving recommended weekly physical activity existed for dog owners, no relationship was found for non-dog owners.

Children, Outdoor Play, and Loose Parts
C Flannigan, B Dietze – Journal of Childhood Studies
In an effort to understand how loose parts in early learning environments benefit children’s play and development, through observations of preschool children in a rural outdoor natural environment, this study examined behaviours that children exhibited as they used loose parts. Children exhibited a range of positive social behaviours, complex verbal and nonverbal behaviours, and various types of risk taking in their play. The findings suggest that children do not explicitly exhibit stereotypical gender or age-exclusion behaviours while using the loose parts.

Childhood origins of young adult environmental behavior
Evans, Otto & Kaiser – Psychological Science
This longitudinal study measured factors during childhood and assessed participants’ environmental attitudes and behaviors twelve years later.  The young adults who grew up with mothers who behaved in a more environmentally sustainable manner, had a stronger environmental attitude, and were better educated behaved in a more pro-environmental manner themselves.

A Case Study on the Impact of Preschool Teachers’ Habits on Children’s Opportunities for Outdoor Learning
E Catucci, A Ehrlin – International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research
The purpose of this article is to explore, through John Dewey´s concept of habit, the potentialities and limitations of outdoor activities for children’s learning. The main finding shows that the preschool teachers express similar habits among children during sand play, approaching it mainly as baking. This result has implications for preschool teacher students and educators of young children, who are invited to reflect on how shared habits at the local preschool might affect children´s learning outdoors, and thus the realisation of the curriculum.

A forest‐based environment as a site of literacy and meaning making for kindergarten children
J Streelasky – Literacy
This study analyses the valued school experiences of 15 five‐ and six‐year‐old Canadian children, through their creation of multimodal texts. This research has the potential to contribute to our understanding of the capacity of young children to share their thoughts on their school experiences by drawing on a range of modes and to contribute to our understanding of the power of alternative learning spaces, such as forest environments, on children’s literacy learning and development.

Implementing Green Walls in Schools
MB McCullough, MD Martin, MA Sajady – Frontiers in Psychology
Implementing green walls—a “vertical garden”, or “living wall” interior wall that typically includes greenery, a growing medium (soil or substrate) and a water delivery system—provides environmental health benefits, but also provides a practical application within classrooms for minimizing directed attention fatigue in students by connecting them to “outdoor nature” within the indoor environment.

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