This paper examines the meaning, assessment, and development of connection to nature (C2N) in two- to five-yearold children. It grows out of a Connection to Nature Workshop organized by the University of Florida, Stanford University, the North American Association for Environmental Education, and the Children and Nature Network to evaluate instruments that measure C2N. Defining and measuring C2N in young children emerged as a current research gap. The workshop was followed by the formation of an Expert Advisory Panel on Early Childhood Nature Connection to address this need. Through semi-structured interviews and narrative responses to a survey, panel participants provided insight on early childhood connection to nature and reviewed existing measures of nature connection for this age group. This paper presents a synthesis of panel ideas. One outcome of the analysis was a detailed description of C2N, highlighting the importance of both quantity and quality of time in nature. Quality time in nature includes opportunities for self-directed exploration, multisensory engagement with nature places, the presence of animals, and the supportive influence of peers and adults. Research implications include recommendations for mixed-method assessment strategies for young children as well as the importance of access to nature for all children.
|Tidskrift||International Journal of Early Childhood Environmental Education|
|Status||Publicerad - 2020|
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