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Making Nature Explicit in Children’s Drawings of Wellbeing and Happy Spaces

Moula, Z; Walshe, N; Lee, E; (2021) Making Nature Explicit in Children’s Drawings of Wellbeing and Happy Spaces. Child Indicators Research , 14 pp. 1653-1675. 10.1007/s12187-021-09811-6. Green open access

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Abstract

Previous research on children’s wellbeing indicators has focused extensively on adults’, rather than children’s perspectives, despite there being a broad consensus that children’s conceptualisations differ significantly from adults’. In response, this study aimed to explore what constitutes children’s wellbeing through their drawings and discussions. Ninety-one seven and eight-year old children from two primary schools in areas of relatively high deprivation in eastern England participated in this study. We identified indicators of wellbeing that were made explicit in children’s drawings, such as the need for safety, happiness and positive relationships, but also indicators that remained rather implicit, such as the environment and nature. The drawings in particular illustrated that children’s perceptions of wellbeing were subject to the affordances of their favourite spaces for emotional, mental physical and material wellbeing. Access to nature and outdoor spaces was interconnected with all these affordances. We analysed these findings through the theoretical lenses of positive psychology, self-actualisation, social mentality and the human-nature relationship. We argue that making nature explicit, and restoring the interconnectedness between the arts and nature in the current literature, should be a key priority for future research and practice on children’s wellbeing indicators.

Type: Article
Title: Making Nature Explicit in Children’s Drawings of Wellbeing and Happy Spaces
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s12187-021-09811-6
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-021-09811-6
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Child wellbeing indicators, Child voice, Nature connectedness, Art-based research, Environmental sustainability education
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10133180
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