Updated: Aug 4, 2020
If I was to ever write a letter to Mother Nature, it would likely include the words grateful, incredible, wonderous, beautiful and breathtaking. Why? Because every time I look around it simply blows my mind. The days come and go. The seasons change. Things grow and displays of colour are so often all around. But, when it comes to positive emotional wellbeing in children, Mother Nature has the ability to take things to another level. She possesses a healing power like no other. And that is why nature forms such an important part of The Nurture Meadow's foundation.
The benefits of nature
Scientifically, it’s consistently proven that humans can employ the help of nature to;
Reduce blood pressure
Encourage endorphins (the happy hormone)
Encourage adaptability in the brain
Build skills such as problem solving, balance, co-ordination and motor skills
Research from Wells and Evans (2003) concluded that highly stressed children who had with access to green surroundings, even on a visual level, were able to better manage their stress. Meanwhile, those living in environments without green vistas or spaces nearby had deeper struggles and for longer.
In addition to this, playing alongside nature;
Increases a child's ability to negotiate risk
Enables all the senses and promotes mindfulness via the birds, colours, textures etc
Improves the ability to concentrate and focus
Reduces the body's response to stress, lowering stress levels.
A study in November 2019 by The Wildlife Trust and University College London revealed that children's wellbeing increased when they were able to connect with nature. 81% of children from 450 Primary schools felt that their interaction with teachers was at a better level after spending time outside and 79% reported that they experienced better relationships with their classmates after time in the great outdoors.
Whilst not everyone lives on the edge of a park or near the ocean, city planners and local authorities have too noted the benefits of nature in recent years. So, whether you live the middle of London, or on the outskirts of Liverpool, you will be able to find pockets of nature that are accessible and free for all.
Incorporating nature into everyday life doesn't need to be time consuming. It could be as simple as picking up a leaf and taking two minutes to feel it's texture. It might be just laying on the grass and looking at the clouds. Consider where you might be able to fit nature into the daily grind and remember, that in doing so you are arming those incredible little minds with the ability to harness positive emotional wellbeing. You're encouraging a respect for nature so that children can start to develop a love for it too and help to protect it and preserve it for years to come.
At TNM, whilst we won’t always be able to operate outside, we endeavour to do so where possible and will also make use of the wonderful resources Mother Nature has provided when practicing Creativity and Mindfulness.