Children in nature: sensory engagement and the experience of biodiversity

Beery, T. & Jørgensen, K. A.
Environmental education research, 24(1):13-25.


The study investigates the potential relationship between childhood experiences of nature and the understanding of biodiversity. The study consists of two studies that are integrated and presented as windows into childhood experiences of nature in order to highlight important aspects of children’s sensory learning.


The results support the idea that the experience of biodiversity and real childhood interaction, including a variety and diversity of living and non-living things from nature, provides children with important learning opportunities, including an understanding of what biodiversity is. The results support a practice of rich sensory environmental training and emphasise the practical importance of access to nature in childhood.


The study consists of two different sub-studies. Study 1 was conducted in Sweden and the data material consisted of semi-structured interviews with 13 students who were asked to share their childhood memories of nature. In Study 2, direct observations, informal conversations and photo-documentation of children’s play and exploration were conducted in an outdoor kindergarten in Norway. The 36 children in the sample were between one and six years old and were observed playing outdoors over a period of ten months.



Beery, T. & Jørgensen, K. A. (2018). “Children in nature: sensory engagement and the experience of biodiversity”. Environmental education research, 24(1):13-25. 

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