The Impact of Children’s Connection to Nature

Tags: behaviour | Learning for Sustainability | nature

This report presents findings on the impact of connection to nature from a survey of 775 children, using the child as the unit of analysis, rather than aggregated data. The results demonstrated that children who were more connected to nature had significantly higher English attainment, although this wasn’t repeated for Mathematics. Further, the 1.5 Connection to Nature Index (CNI) level was found to be a significant threshold across other measures, with those children with a CNI of 1.5 or above having significantly higher health, life satisfaction, pro-environmental behaviours and pro-nature behaviours.

The analysis found strong correlations between CNI and pro-nature behaviours and pro-environmental behavior. A positive correlation was also evident between CNI and days spent outdoors and days spent in nature over the past week, suggesting that the more time spent in nature is associated with child’s connection to nature. Finally, weak correlations were found between connection to nature, health and life satisfaction.

When more refined attainment results for English were explored, (n = 512) further weak correlations were found between English attainment and attendance, English and life satisfaction, and between English attainment and connection to nature. There are a multitude of factors associated with a child’s English attainment, so, although the correlations are weak, it is noteworthy that connection to nature is as important to children’s achievement in English as life satisfaction and attendance at school.