Date of Award
MA - Master of Arts
Dr. Melissa Jean
Dr. Andrew Olendzki
The benefits of spending time outside in nature are well documented for children. However, due to both micro and macro systems level causes, children are spending less time in nature than they have in the past. Children spend a large amount of time in school, which makes it the perfect setting to incorporate more time outside into their day. This paper begins with a review of current and historical literature around the themes of childhood experiential learning, nature exposure, and mindfulness experiences that focus on sensory learning. This research has informed the development of the creative project titled Attentive Earth and Body, which is an educator’s guide and five-lesson curricula. The purpose of Attentive Earth and Body is to provide lessons for early elementary educators to teach self-awareness to students through attention practices using the sensations of nature. Mindful sensory based activities are offered to assist educators with teaching whole body learning and interoceptive skills, and with promoting self-awareness and social emotion learning. Research has also shown that children that develop connections to nature are more likely to display pro-environmental behaviors throughout their lives. Attentive Earth and Body strives to provide children with fun and positive experiences in nature, hoping to strengthen the bond between the child and the earth.
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Andrescavage, April, "Childhood Learning Through Mindful Sensory Experiences in Nature: Attentive Earth and Body– A Five-Lesson Educator’s Guide" (2023). Mindfulness Studies Theses. 73.