Children walking oudoors

Impact of COVID-19 on outdoor learning among children studied by University PhD researcher

The impact of COVID-19 on outdoor learning among children is being studied by a PhD researcher at the University of Hull.

Katie Parsons, from the Department of Geography, Geology and Environment at the University, is investigating the changes brought about to normal school routines by the global pandemic.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, many educationalists and healthcare workers had grown increasingly concerned about a reduction in children’s access and use of the outdoor environment.

Mrs Parsons said: “It is widely recognised that access to the outdoors has a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing, and during COVID-19 we are being actively encouraged by the government to go outdoors to meet these needs and be physically active one a day.

“Some have had an opportunity to immerse themselves into a natural world that they have been too busy to be part of, whilst others in city centres may have had greater restrictions on engaging with the natural world.

“Understanding how COVID-19 has affected children’s access to the outdoors is therefore important, and what has controlled and impacted this access – and how has this changed from normal school-based routines?”

The spread of COVID-19 has shut down large parts of the world’s economy, and has closed schools across the UK.

For the past month, most children and young people in the UK have been at home, learning independently, and where possible, with support from family members or carers.

The new research project, led by Mrs Parsons, hopes to shine a light on how COVID-19 has impacted outdoor learning among children and young people living in the UK.

Are children and young people accessing the outdoors more due to being encouraged to go outside each day? Do children and young people enjoy being outside more during this time?

Or are our children and young people accessing the outdoors less due to lack of access and facilities where they live, the fear of going out or the pressures of new online learning schedules?

As part of the study, Mrs Parsons is asking for help with a series of surveys and questionnaires aimed at parents and carers, teachers and children.

The studies will help form the base of crucial research into the impact of COVID-19 on education.

Links to the studies and questionnaires, which can be completed online, can be found below:

“Some have had an opportunity to immerse themselves into a natural world that they have been too busy to be part of, whilst others in city centres may have had greater restrictions on engaging with the natural world." Katie Parsons, Department of Geography, Geology and Environment, University of Hull

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