Group Ray/Simonsen

Nature/outdoor exposure and children’s health and wellbeing

The nature/outdoor exposure and children’s health and wellbeing-projects focus on the positive impact of nature/outdoor exposure on children’s physical activity, mental and social wellbeing, nature connectedness, and academic performance. The research is divided into two projects; within two different age categories and settings.

The Naturkraft project is focusing on families having children aged 2-7 years. The main research questions are whether there are socio-demographic and mental factors related to nature visits within families with young children, is frequent visits to nature related to children’s physical activity, or their nature connectedness etc. The Naturkraft project uses data from the DAGIS-study 2015-16 and 2017-18, and a web-questionnaire which was conducted as a collaboration project with Folkhälsan Förbund Naturkraft-project in spring 2019. The research will start autumn 2020, and results will be published in years 2021-22.

The Outdoor Education project is a collaboration project with Folkhälsan Association in Åboland, which has promoted outdoor education in schools during nearly 15 years. The first phase of the project started spring 2020 with a literature review of studies on outdoor education in schools and its effects on the health and wellbeing, as well as, academic performance of children. As there are few studies on the subject, and more knowledge is needed, a research plan for a study on outdoor education was completed. The research project (2020-22) aims to evaluate the impacts of outdoor education on Finnish schoolchildren’s health and wellbeing, nature connectedness and learning. The study will 1. examine the extent of outdoor education in Swedish-speaking primary schools, 2. conduct a pilot study testing measurement methods, and 3. in a comparative study, comprising Swedish-speaking school classes using outdoor education and those not using it, explore the associations between outdoor education and schoolchildren’s health and wellbeing, physical activity, academic performance, and nature connectedness.

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Personell: Researcher Carola Ray, Research Coordinators Jasmine Gustafsson and Juuli Kokkonen, and researchgroup Roos.

Collaboration partners: Naturkraft project at Folkhälsans förbund

Current funding: Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation

Personell: Project leader/researcher Nina Simonsen, Project Coordinator Nanna Wackström and research group Roos

Collaboration partners: Folkhälsans förbund/ Outdoor education in Åboland

Current funding: Stiftelsen Echnerska Frilasarettet, Svenska kulturfonden and Johanna och G. A. Petrelius stiftelse


    • Carola Ray

      Adjunct Professor, PhD

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