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BNELIT - Datenbank zu Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung: wissenschaftliche Literatur und Materialien
Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung: wiss. Literatur und Materialien (BNELIT)
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1. Aufsatz in Sammelwerk (SW)
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Nature Experience Areas.
Rediscovering the Potential of Nature for children′s Development.
In Herausgeberwerk (Quelle):
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SW Hauptsachtitel:
Research Handbook on Childhoodnature.

Natural environments play a key role in childhood development, promoting mental, physical, and social competencies. However, children′s presence and movement in open spaces, especially in urban areas, are becoming increasingly limited. This results in decreased opportunities to experience elements within a natural environment. One solution for this situation is to create safe natural environments within the neighborhood which allows children to have daily contact with natural environments and integrating it into their learning. We introduce the concept of nature experience areas, which consists of natural elements such as trees, shrubs, sticks, and few artificial playground elements. Nature experience areas provide open spaces for children to play freely with little or no assistance by adults. It is argued that children can playfully use their body and senses, thus providing a context for hands-on learning. The potential of natural environments for children′s play and the effects of nature experience areas on children will be outlined in a brief review. Then the approach and findings from two studies are given: the first involved a quasi-experimental design including structured observations, while the second included in-depth interviews with children. Results show that activities on a conventional playground consist of primarily repetitive movements, compared to nature experience areas where a higher variety of play behavior appears. Favorite places of children within the nature experience area are characterized by a high degree of complexity and provide opportunities to climb and explore the area. The potential of natural experience areas for nature contact and free play is discussed.
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