Making nature explicit in children’s drawings of wellbeing and happy spaces

Moula, Zoe, Walshe, Nicola and Lee, Elsa (2021) Making nature explicit in children’s drawings of wellbeing and happy spaces. Child Indicators Research, 14. pp. 1653-1675. ISSN 1874-8988

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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.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: child wellbeing indicators, arts in nature, nature connectedness, child voice, art-based research, environmental sustainability education
Faculty: Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine & Social Care
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2021 15:14
Last Modified: 16 May 2022 15:22

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