Nature England Survey

Social justice issues highlighted in this report from Nature England

  • Children’s access to nature during coronavirus varied across the population. For example, 71% of children from ethnic minority backgrounds reported spending less time outside since coronavirus, compared with 57% of white children. Three-quarters (73%) of children from households with annual income below £17,000 spent less time outdoors, compared with 57% from households with an annual income above £17,000.

Natural England commissioned research to understand the perspective of children and young people relating to nature during Covid-19. Asking children about their experiences directly is important to provide young people with a greater stake in and voice about the natural environment.

A total of 1,501 children, aged between 8-15 in England, participated in an online survey between 6th-18th August 2020 (inclusive). The main findings include:

  • Coronavirus has had an impact on children’s mental health and wellbeing, with half (48%) of children interviewed reporting that being worried about catching / spreading coronavirus had stopped them from spending more time outside. More generally, one in five (19%) reported being worried the previous day and a quarter (27%) said they were lonely often/always or some of the time. One in five children (19%) reported that they were part of a household that was shielding.
  • The survey demonstrates the positive role of nature in supporting children’s well-being, with eight in ten (83%) of children interviewed agreeing that being in nature made them very happy. Overall, four in five (81%) children reported being happy and just three per cent reported being unhappy.
  • Children who reported spending more time outside (and more time noticing nature / wildlife) were more likely to report that ‘being in nature makes me very happy’ (91% and 94% respectively, compared to 79% of those who had spent less time).
  • Six in ten children (60%) reported to have spent less time outdoors since the start of coronavirus, more than double the proportion that had spent more time outside (25%). These findings suggest that, when read alongside the results for adults in the same period , far fewer children are spending more time outside since coronavirus started than adults (45% adults report spending more time outside compared to 25% of children).
  • Natural spaces are important places for connection – with the natural world and each other. However, since the lockdown, 81% of children stated that they had spent less time outside with friends. Seventy per cent of children said that, in the future when things start to get back to normal, they want to spend more time outdoors with friends, and 44% reported wanting more time outdoors at school.
  • Local parks and private gardens were important ways of accessing green and natural spaces during lockdown. When asked where they had visited in the past week, three in five children (62%) had played in gardens (theirs or someone else’s) and the same proportion (62%) had visited a park, playing field or playground. Far fewer children had spent time in other natural places such as the seaside (27%), the woods (26%) or the wider countryside (24%). Park closures were felt more acutely by younger children, with over half (56%) of 8-11 year olds saying that this stopped them from spending more time outside.

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S&SR Environment and Spaces Group Publication

 

The MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit of the S&SR Environment and Spaces Group “Change in use of green and open space following COVID-19 lockdown ‘stay at home’ phase and initial easing of lockdown” publication is now live on the MRC website.

 

 

http://bit.ly/greenspacesreport

https://www.gla.ac.uk/researchinstitutes/healthwellbeing/research/mrccsosocialandpublichealthsciencesunit/aboutus/covid19/

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Covid-19 and Children’s Play – update 2 September 2020

Play Scotland is a member of the UK Children’s Play Policy Forum which has commissioned this COVID 19 and Play analysis and update. Information on the COVID 19 virus and its direct impact on children’s health and indirect impact (physical, mental, social) via curtailment of play outdoors is accumulating as research continues. The findings include concerns about the risks to children from outdoor play deprivation.

“Experts in child development and child psychiatry agree that children are experiencing multiple harms as a consequence of play deprivation. There has been a failure to properly assess the risks of collateral damage to children and adolescents.” 

https://www.playscotland.org/resources/covid-19-and-childrens-play-update-2-september-2020/

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IPA Covid Report: Play in Lockdown

An international study of government and civil society responses to Covid-19 and their impact on children’s play and mobility

The report gives international data on Covid19 pandemic control measures and their impact on outdoor play and mobility, and calls for greater attention to children’s rights. The main finding is that country responses have varied hugely. In quantifying this, the report unveils a new indicator of the severity of national lockdown measures, (the ‘Child Lockdown Index’). The home nations are in the middle of the range when it comes to their CLI – see Figure 1 on page 6.

https://www.playscotland.org/resources/ipa-covid-report/

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Indoor activity guidance

Re-opening of unregulated indoor children’s activity

Scottish Government’s message on guidance:

Schools and regulated ELC are beginning again from 11 August and we are receiving queries about whether other indoor activity may resume at the same time.

The answer is that indoor activities for children and young people which are not overseen by a regulator should not start again until agreed guidance is in place.  Unfortunately, back to school does not mean back to normality and for now, ensuring that the transition back to school is successful is our top priority.

For now, activities for children and young people under the age of 18  should continue online or outdoors in line with existing guidance. 

We know that these indoor activities are of huge value to children, young people and families across Scotland and our ambition is to get them open soon as soon as this is deemed appropriate.  We will provide further information about timing with additional guidance where this is necessary.

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Guidelines for unregulated, informal play services

“Given the importance of play to children’s health and wellbeing it is vital through this crisis that all children and young people can regain access to play opportunities in a range of settings which offer variety, adventure and challenge.”

John Swinney, MSP, Deputy First Minister

Play Scotland is pleased to release Guidelines for unregulated, informal play services which are intended to support the play sector as they consider resuming outdoor organised activities. We hope to be able to release further advice and guidelines over the coming weeks.

Play Scotland Guidelines for Services

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Play for postive mental health

With the focus on mental health this week, it is important to remember that play is vital to supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Play Scotland undertook a survey in April 2020 on the impact of COVID-19 on play  and childcare settings in Scotland. The impact of the pandemic and the resulting restrictions on children and families’ mental health and wellbeing was a major concern.

The impact of Covid-19 on play opportunities compounds an already recognised worrying problem in childhood. The decline of outdoor play is a huge issue for the health and wellbeing of children and young people.

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IPA Play in Crisis: support for parents and carers

The COVID-19 pandemic is having an impact on children and families around the world. In order to support the child’s right to play in these difficult times, the International Play Association (IPA) has developed the new IPA Play in Crisis: support for parents and carers resource.

Each page of the resource provides parents and carers with information and ideas so they can support their child’s play. There are topics such as the importance of playing in crisis, and how to respond to children’s play needs, through to issues that parents may be concerned about, like children playing with difficult themes of loss, death and loneliness.

The International Play Association recognises playing as a basic and vital part of the pleasure of childhood. It is as an essential part of all aspects of children’s development. During crisis, play has a significant therapeutic role, helping children recover a sense of normality and joy.

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