There is a wealth of research supporting the benefits of outdoor activities and education in a natural setting. One example of this is given by Bird (2007) where it was suggested that regular exposure to green space before 12 years of age increases the child’s independence, problem solving skills, social skills, inner strength, co-ordination, and strength.
This final year dissertation study looked at how regular outdoor education in a natural environment can help improve primary school children’s well-being and self-esteem. The study was conducted in January and February time and ran for three weeks, where each week three hours of lesson time were allocated to a different location (classroom, playground and Children’s Wood). At the start and end of each week, the children filled in the WHO-5 well-being questionnaire, the Rosenberg self-esteem questionnaire as well as a simple likert scale questionnaire which evaluated how they enjoyed the weeks’ lessons.
From the data collected it was found that the natural setting scored the highest overall self-esteem score of the three settings with a significant difference when compared to the playground setting. The natural setting also scored higher for self-esteem when compared to the classroom. The likert scale showed that having lessons in the natural setting was significantly more enjoyable than the classroom and playground setting and that they were also more interested in the lessons themselves.
Overall, the current study supports the majority of previous literature and shows that having lessons in natural spaces has a positive impact on self-esteem and enjoyment.