Student thesis Leonie Kooloos

Portrait Leonie Kooloos
How do activities in green environments stimulate children's connection to nature?
Leonie Kooloos
Current role
Student Science in Society

Scientists from different disciplines have studied the disconnect between humans and nature. The term used in literature to describe this connection is human-nature connectedness (HNC).

Studies have shown that HNC has several short- and long-term benefits, both mentally and physically. In the short-term, exposure to nature enables children to develop personal and social capabilities through creative play and learn about their environment through direct experience. Additionally, children that grow up near green spaces have better test scores, improved self-discipline and cognition, and reduced behavioural problems.

In the long term, HNC in childhood leads to pro-environmental behaviours and commitment to nature-based activities in adulthood. These are all aspects beneficial to child development and could not only improve the life quality of the child, but also be beneficial to the preservation of the environment. Therefore, I would like to learn more about how activities in a green environment stimulate children to connect to nature. For my thesis, I will do both participatory observation and interviews with children. The results might help us to see how we can improve the connection between children and nature in the future.