Why is Environmental Engagement Important for Children?

A report by the Children’s Commissioner has concluded that environmental engagement is imperative for children. It was written in Issue 1 of Children’s Insights that the health of the environment remains one of their largest concerns for children.

Researchers asked children aged 10 to 17 from 2,400 households what they were most worried about. Along with crime, the most common concern was the environment, with 45% of girls and 36% of boys saying they were worried about it. It is likely that the visibility of activists such as Greta Thunberg and changes to school curriculum to include environmental problems have caused these figures.

Over recent years, government green initiatives have been pushed to the bottom of the agenda and has seen 92% of councils reduce park funding. Not only does this affect local climate and ecology, it also poses risks to the mental and physical health of children in the local area. The outdoors increase activity levels, serotonin and have other wellbeing benefits widely associated with nature. Discover more about the effects of the outdoors on mental health.

Without increased investment into the outdoors, children will spend less time outdoors engaging with nature. In turn, they are likely to value it less. It is therefore important that schools, councils and other access providers make investment into the outdoors a priority. By acting now, children will continue to care about the environment and will understand its importance in their health.

The Children’s Commissioner’s report also stated that a lack of engagement with the outdoors means that children will spend more time inside, ‘heightening exposure to indoor air pollution’. They conclude that if environmental neglect continues, as a society, we fail to help children and risk generations of disengagement and damage for years to come.

 

Nurturing a relationship with nature

The outdoors and outdoor education is crucial to child development. In order to nurture a relationship with nature and increase engagement with the outdoors, A Wilderness Way provide an outdoor programme called Wilderness Experiences.

As part of our Wilderness Experiences, we provide outdoor education for children and young people in our care. Looking beyond standard approaches to education, our alternative education outcomes are achieved with the support from our outdoor experiences. The children and young people in our care can take part in a range of different outdoor activities such as:

  • Ghyll scrambling
  • Rock climbing
  • Abseiling
  • Raft building
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Orienteering

By providing access to a range of outdoor activities, we support the young people within our care with exposure to the outdoors. To find out more about our outdoor experiences, please email us at referrals@awwltd.com.

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