Parenting styles and the connection with nature: A look into a nature program
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Keywords:Environmental education, Early childhood, Nature relatedness, Nature education program
Currently, there seems to be a decline in direct experiences of nature, with a consequent decrease in connection with nature, which could unavoidably result in negative consequences, especially in what concerns children. With the goal of narrowing this ever-growing gap, as well as raising awareness for the importance of outdoor spaces/nature as promoters of development and learning, the Invisible Limits Project (IL) was founded. Thus, the present investigation aimed to better understand the enrollment motives, sociodemographic variables, parenting styles and Nature Relatedness (NR) of parents who enrolled their children in IL, as well as to analyze these same variables and identify parent profiles based on NR and frequency of nature contact, while additionally attempting to ascertain the role of contact with nature as a predictor of NR, all in an effort to rethink and improve existing educational offers. The investigation follows a comparative typology, counting 286 total participants, divided into an experimental group (n=135) - comprised of those who enrolled their children in IL - and a control group (n=151), to which the previous criterion did not apply. For the statistical analysis of the collected data, IBM SPSS Statistics v25, jamovi v1.6, JASP 0.16.1.0 and MaxQDA v2020.4 were used. In what pertains to the results, the main reason for parents to enrol their children in an educational experience in nature was the promotion of contact with nature. Additionally, there were no observable differences between groups, regarding both parenting styles and NR. Concomitantly, frequent contact with nature (both during childhood and throughout life) was determined to be a predictor of a higher NR. In view of the results and in view of the current climate changes, as well as life’s sustainability on the planet, further studies are required, in order to better understand one’s connection with nature.
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