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Feeling Connected to Nature Enhances Children’s Happiness

The environment, after all, is where we all meet, where we all have a mutual interest. It is one thing that all of us share. It is not only a mirror of ourselves, but a focusing lens on what we can become.
Lady Bird Johnson

In a recent article in Newsweek magazine, Kashmira Gander wrote:

“Children who feel connected to nature are also more likely to say they're happy, a study suggests. As past research has found a link between happiness and a relationship with nature in adults, the authors of the paper published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology wanted to see if the same is true in kids.

The research involved 296 children in a northwestern Mexican city, who were aged between 9 to 12. The team measured how connected the participants felt to nature by asking them to rate how much they enjoyed activities like seeing wild flowers and interacting with animals. They also assessed the children's attitude towards sustainability…

Kids who saw themselves as more connected to nature were more likely to act sustainably, the team found. In addition, the more concerned the participants were about the environment, as well as being eco-friendly, altruistic and fair, the more likely they were to say they were happy.”

And in the book, Heart-Centered Teaching Inspired by Nature, Nancy Rosenow writes, “Learning with and from nature helps children experience a daily dose of inspiration. As Rachel Carson wrote: ‘Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.’ Nature-based experiences I believe are absolutely vital for children’s healthy growth and development.”

Want to learn more about supporting children’s connections with nature? Here are two upcoming opportunities:

1. Sign up for the Early Learning Investigations webinar, “The Joys and Challenges of Managing Nature-Based Programs, by Rachel Larimore, sponsored by Nature Explore. Click here to learn more.

2. Register for the July, 2020 Nature Explore/Outdoor Classroom Project Leadership Institute: Embracing the Gifts of Nature for Ourselves, Our Children and Our World. Click here to learn more.

Source: “Children Who Feel Connected to Nature Likely to Be Happier, Study Suggests,” by Kashmira Gander, Newsweek, February 26, 2020

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