• Children’s well-being and nature connectedness: Exploring the impact of a ‘3-good-things’ writing task on nature connectedness and well-being.

      Harvey, Caroline; Sheffield, David; Richardson, Miles; University of Derby (2016-09-10)
      The health benefits of being connected to nature are well documented amongst both adults and children therefore simple interventions that lead to greater connectedness are valuable. The ‘3-good-things’ writing task is a positive psychology intervention which has been shown to increase happiness and decrease depression. Focusing the 3-good-things writing tasks on nature related good things has been found to increase nature connection in a sample of adults and the present research extends this to explore the impact of the intervention on nature connectedness in children. Children (n= 167) aged 9-11 completed measures of nature connection, mindfulness and life satisfaction at three time points, before and after the intervention, and again approximately eight weeks later. The intervention consisted of writing 3 good things about nature that they noticed every day for 5 days, whilst the control group wrote about 3 things they had noticed. Data will be analysed using factorial mixed design analysis. Relationships between the dependent variables will be explored using multiple regression.
    • Embedding compassionate micro skills of communication in higher education: implementation with psychology undergraduates

      Harvey, Caroline; Maratos, Frances; Montague, Jane; Gale, Maggie; Gilbert, Theo; Clark, Karen; University of Derby; University of Hertfordshire (British Psychological Society, 2020-09-01)
      Many students struggle with group-based assessments. The pedagogic approach of the ‘compassionate micro skills of communication’ (CMSC) aims to equip students with the skills necessary to work effectively in group settings. To this end, students studying on a core psychology module involving group-work, received structured CMSC learning in seminars. Following its implementation, analysis of data from four student and one staff focus groups, using thematic analysis, indicated support for the pedagogic approach. Four themes emerged: the use of CMSC for addressing unhelpful group behaviours; employing helpful group behaviours; enhancing inclusivity; and areas for CMSC improvement and roll out. Quantitative data collection is still on-going and will be reported elsewhere. However, our preliminary analysis of the qualitative data provides good support for utilising a CMSC pedagogic approach in Higher Education regarding both its efficacy and potential positive impact.
    • The good things children notice in nature: An extended framework for reconnecting children with nature

      Harvey, Caroline; Hallam, Jenny; Richardson, Miles; Wells, Rachel; University of Derby (Elsevier BV, 2019-12-23)
      This research identifies themes emerging from a children’s writing task, where they wrote about good things they noticed in nature over a five day period. Eighty four children aged nine to eleven participated, resulting in 847 written statements. Content analysis using an emergent coding approach identified ten themes, with “Active Animals” being the most frequently occurring theme. Combining the themes with Author (2017a, b, c) pathways to nature connection provides an extended framework to inform children’s activity programmes, design of school grounds and urban spaces, aiming to connect children with nature. Future research could extend the framework into a practitioner’s tool kit.
    • The Impact of Children’s Connection to Nature: A Report for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)

      Richardson, Miles; Sheffield, David; Harvey, Caroline; Petronzi, Dominic; University of Derby (RSPB, 2016-02-16)
      Connecting with nature should be part of every child’s life as it has the potential to aid nature’s revival while benefiting the child. To embed nature connection within our social norms, there is a need to be able to understand the benefits and set targets for levels of nature connection. 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.
    • The impact of walking environment and connectedness to nature, mindfulness and empathy: A comparison of natural and urban locations

      Birdsall, Kerry; Harvey, Caroline; University of Derby (2016-09-10)
      Immersion in nature has been demonstrated to improve health and well-being, and has also been found to increase measures of trait nature connectedness. However, the effect of such an environment on other personality traits remains in question. An experiment was conducted to examine the effect of urban and natural walking environments and time on measures of nature connectedness, mindfulness, cognitive empathy and affective empathy. Participants (N=44) conducted a thirty-minute walk on three consecutive days and measures of the dependent variables were taken pre and post intervention. A series of factorial mixed design ANOVAs were used to assess the impact of walking in urban and rural environments on the dependent variables. The results indicated that walking in a natural environment significantly increased nature connectedness, mindfulness and cognitive empathy over time but did not have a significant main effect on affective empathy. This research highlights the potential of interventions involving walking in natural environments for positive psychological outcomes in terms of the enhancement of desirable personality traits.
    • "We've been exploring and adventuring." A investigation into young people's engagement with a semi wild, disused space

      Hallam, Jenny; Gallagher, Laurel; Harvey, Caroline; University of Derby (APA, 2019-10-24)
      This paper uses ethnography to explore young people’s engagement with an intervention run by Feral Spaces which was designed to promote a meaningful connection to a disused space. Over the course of three sessions, each lasting two hours, seven young people aged between 11 and 12 years old took part in a range of den building activities in a semi-wild area which was local to them. The sessions were recorded using audio and video equipment and an inductive thematic analysis informed by a realist framework was used to analyse the naturalistic data collected. The analysis presents four themes - engaging with the environment, developing a sense of awe and wonder, respect and attachment to the space and a sense of belonging which map out the young people’s growing connection to nature evidenced during the intervention. Within each of these themes the young people’s experiences are discussed in relation to theory of biophilia and the pathways to nature model in order to evaluate their relevance for researchers and practitioners who seek to understand children’s connection with nature and promote it. Furthermore, the positive relationships and emotions experienced during the intervention are explored. It is argued that the community-based intervention developed the young people’s understandings of the natural world and their confidence to engage with it in a personally meaningful way. This had positive implications in terms of supporting the young people’s wellbeing.