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Children's mental health and wellbeing and hands-on contact with nature

Maller, Cecily and Townsend, Mardie 2006, Children's mental health and wellbeing and hands-on contact with nature, International journal of learning, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 359-372.

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Title Children's mental health and wellbeing and hands-on contact with nature
Author(s) Maller, Cecily
Townsend, Mardie
Journal name International journal of learning
Volume number 12
Issue number 4
Start page 359
End page 372
Publisher Common Ground Publishing
Place of publication Altona, Vic.
Publication date 2006
ISSN 1447-9494
1447-9540
Keyword(s) nature
mental health
children
hands-on contact
sustainability education
Summary Research on the health and wellbeing benefits of contact with animals and plants indicates the natural environment may have significant positive psychological and physiological effects on human health and wellbeing. In terms of children, studies have demonstrated that children function better cognitively and emotionally in 'green' environments and have more creative play. In Australia as well as internationally, many schools appear to be incorporating nature-based activities into their curricula, mostly via sustainability education. Although these programs appear to be successful, few have been evaluated, particularly in terms of the potential benefits to health and wellbeing. This paper reports on a pilot survey investigating the mental health benefits of contact with nature for primary school children in Melbourne, Australia. A survey of principals and teachers was conducted in urban primary schools within a 20km radius of Melbourne. As well as gathering data on the types and extent of environmental and other nature-based activities in the sample schools, items addressing the perceptions of principals and teachers of the potential effects of these activities on children's mental health and wellbeing were also included. Despite a lower than expected response rate, some interesting findings emerged. Although preliminary, results indicate that participants' perceptions of the benefits to mental health and wellbeing from participation in hands-on nature based activities at their school are positive and encompass many aspects of mental health.
Language eng
Field of Research 111714 Mental Health
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2006, Common Ground Publishing
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30003638

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Health and Social Development
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.