Exploring Parents’ Perception of the Importance of Nature Exposure
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Research shows that children’s time spent in nature is decreasing which often causes behavioural problems (Louv, 2008). This issue has sometimes been associated with parents’ own lack of understanding of nature. It has been found that if parents themselves don’t understand the importance or nature, or do not have a sense of bioaffinity (i.e. love of nature), then they are less likely to make choices that will expose their own children to nature (Strife & Downley, 2009). Using a case study approach, the goal of this study is to identify the influences that motivate and/or discourage parents from enrolling their children in the Wild Child Forest School program, an environmental education program with the goal of exposing children to nature. Further, this research aims to understand how parents perceive the importance of nature for their children’s development. This work will add to the growing body of knowledge on motivations for nature exposure; help to fill gaps in the present literature available about parents’ perception of nature; and to understand the barriers present, which discourage parents from exposing their children to nature.