You can see the late Summer round up of evidence and reports, policy agenda developments, large scale delivery sector initiatives, resources and news from Natural England here. This supports the Strategic Research Groups 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.  Highlights include:

A review of the benefits of nature experiences: more than meets the eye
Franco et al. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Evidence that experiences of nature can benefit people has accumulated rapidly. Yet perhaps because of the domination of the visual sense in humans, most research has focused on the visual aspects of nature experiences. However, humans are multisensory, and it seems likely that many benefits are delivered through the non-visual senses and these are potentially avenues through which a physiological mechanism could occur. Here we review the evidence around these lesser studied sensory pathways-through sound, smell, taste, touch, and three non-sensory pathways.

Physical outdoor activity versus indoor activity: their influence on environmental behaviours
Fang et al. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
This study investigates the influence of physical outdoor activity on environmental behaviors. A total of 416 surveys were distributed to students in eight public primary schools located near the Hsinchu Science and Industrial Park in Taiwan. Findings from the analysis revealed that subjective norms had a more influential effect on environmental behaviors for participants who engaged in physical activity at outdoor parks. In contrast, descriptive norms had a direct predictive impact on environmental behaviors for participants whose main physical activity venue was at the indoor after-school centers. Research results also highlighted attitude as the strongest predictive variable influence on environmental behaviors for children who engaged in physical indoor and outdoor activities.

Children’s discourses of natural spaces: Considerations for children’s subjective well-being.
Adams & Savahl- Child Indicators Research
Using discourse analysis on focus group interviews with 28 children between the ages of 12 and 14 years old from three socio-economically diverse communities in the Western Cape of South Africa, the study aimed to explore how children construct and assign meaning to natural spaces. The study highlights the critical role that children’s engagement in natural spaces has on their subjective well-being, and how these benefits can be harnessed to better children’s overall quality of life.

Monsters or Good Guys: The Mediating Role of Emotions in Transforming a Young Child’s Encounter with Nature
C Green – Canadian Journal of Environmental Education
This qualitative study explores the emotions of a four-year-old during his exploration of an imaginary “monster castle” in the forest, and the role an educator plays in supporting children’s affective states.  Negotiating emotions, both positive and negative, is important in strengthening a child’s environmental identity. Just as children learn to regulate emotions in formal learning environments, their ability to regulate their emotions in nature instills a sense of comfort and trust, spatial autonomy and self-awareness, and environmental competency and self-confidence, which, in turn, influences their actions for the environment.

The rewards of professional change: Two primary school teachers’ experiences of transforming outdoor education
M Cosgriff – Teachers and Curriculum
This paper picks up on the notion of the possible rewards of professional change, drawing on the experiences of two generalist primary school teachers engaging in curriculum and pedagogical change in outdoor education within the Health and Physical Education learning area. Specifically, the contributions of outdoor-based learning in a local bush reserve to teachers’ own sense of personal wellbeing and rejuvenated sense of professional identity are explored.

Complementing classroom learning through outdoor adventure education: Out-of-school-time experiences that make a difference
Richmond et alJournal of Adventure Education and Outdoor learning
The primary aim of this study was to better understand the form, function and delivery of an effective OAE program/school partnership targeting factors that support student success. Findings explain how shared OAE experiences among adolescent girls attending the same school contribute to greater social connectedness, self-efficacy in leadership competencies, and a recalibrated sense of self and personal potential.


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