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Article

Nature Connection in Early Childhood: A Quantitative Cross-Sectional Study

1
School of Education and Social Work, University of Dundee, Nethergate, Scotland DD1 4HN, UK
2
School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Nethergate, Scotland DD1 4HN, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 375; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12010375
Received: 3 December 2019 / Revised: 19 December 2019 / Accepted: 31 December 2019 / Published: 2 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Psychological Development in Early Childhood)
There have been calls to reconnect children with nature, both for their own wellbeing, as well as for ecological sustainability. This has driven the growth of outdoor and nature-schools for all ages, but especially in the early childhood education sector. However, to date, there has not been a quantitative study that looks at whether these settings actually promote nature connection. This paper aims to examine the role of nature nurseries in the promotion of connection to nature, when compared to traditional nurseries. Data were collected on the nature connection, using the Connection to Nature Index for Parents of Preschool Children, of 216 children aged 1–8 years, 132 of whom attended nature nurseries while the rest attended traditional nurseries. Duration and frequency of attendance, sex, and parental nature connection were also reported. Statistical analyses were conducted for overall nature connection scores, individual dimension sub-scores and, for the children who attended nature nursery, against predictors. Results indicate that attending a nature nursery is associated with higher nature connection. Predictors for children’s connection to nature were parental nature connection, and total time spent in attendance of an outdoor nursery. This suggests a dose-response style relationship between attendance and nature connection. Implications for real-life applications are put forward and further research directions are explored. View Full-Text
Keywords: nature connection; early childhood; wellbeing; forest school; nursery nature connection; early childhood; wellbeing; forest school; nursery
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MDPI and ACS Style

Barrable, A.; Booth, D. Nature Connection in Early Childhood: A Quantitative Cross-Sectional Study. Sustainability 2020, 12, 375. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12010375

AMA Style

Barrable A, Booth D. Nature Connection in Early Childhood: A Quantitative Cross-Sectional Study. Sustainability. 2020; 12(1):375. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12010375

Chicago/Turabian Style

Barrable, Alexia, and David Booth. 2020. "Nature Connection in Early Childhood: A Quantitative Cross-Sectional Study" Sustainability 12, no. 1: 375. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12010375

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