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Int J Environ Health Res. 2018 Dec;28(6):653-666. doi: 10.1080/09603123.2018.1502415. Epub 2018 Jul 26.

Nature contact at school: The impact of an outdoor classroom on children's well-being.

Author information

1
a Department of Public Health , Brooks College of Health, University of North Florida , Jacksonville , Florida , USA.
2
b Department of Exceptional, Deaf, and Interpreter Education, College of Education and Human Services , University of North Florida , Jacksonville , Florida , USA.
3
c Department of Mathematics and Statistics , College of Arts and Science, University of North Florida , Jacksonville , Florida , USA.
4
d Department of Childhood Education, Literacy, and TESOL, College of Education and Human Services , University of North Florida , Jacksonville , Florida , USA.
5
e Department of Applied Health Sciences , Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences Jacksonville University , Jacksonville , Florida , USA.

Abstract

Nature contact facilitates healthy child development and a disconnect with nature presents potential health risks. This study was designed to test a nature intervention at an elementary school among children. An experimental crossover design was implemented over six weeks; two teachers taught their respective kindergarten classes the daily language arts lesson in either the control (indoor classroom) or nature treatment (outdoor classroom) conditions. Child well-being measures were compared in the two conditions. Teachers' redirections of child behavior were significantly fewer in the nature condition (t = 2.49, p < 0.05) compared to the control. Also, fewer children were off task in the nature condition on average. There were mixed well-being results; children reported no significance difference in happiness in the two conditions, but teachers reported modest benefit in child well-being in the nature condition. The outdoor classroom is a promising method for increasing nature contact and promoting student well-being.

KEYWORDS:

Nature contact intervention; children; green school; outdoor classroom

PMID:
30047798
DOI:
10.1080/09603123.2018.1502415
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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