Pupils must have more contact with nature says Wildlife Trusts

The Wildlife Trusts organisation is calling for every child in the UK to spend one hour outside in nature, every day, as part of the school curriculum.

Commissioned by the The Wildlife Trusts, researchers at the Institute of Education at UCL have conducted one of the largest ever studies to look into the effects of regular outdoor activities on children's wellbeing. To do so, they used a group of over 450 primary school children aged eight or nine-years-old.

The school children took part in activities such as identifying plants and trees, reflecting on nature's important role in our lives, and considering the needs of wildlife habitats.

The researchers found that being outdoors encouraged the children's creativity.

Other benefits included:

  • an increase in their personal wellbeing and health over time.

  • 90% of children felt they learned something new about the natural world.

  • 79% felt that their experience could help their school work.

  • 81% agreed they had better relationships with their teachers.

  • 79% reported stronger bonds with other children in their class.


After the activities, 84% of children felt that they were capable of doing new things when they tried.

Recommendations

The Trusts are calling on the government to make a daily hour of nature time a compulsory part of the curriculum for all children, so that those with less access to outdoor space at home can also reap the benefits.

Nigel Doar, the Wildlife Trusts' director of strategy, says: "This research shows that children experience profound and diverse benefits through regular contact with nature. It improves their wellbeing, motivation and confidence."