Family Nature Clubs: Exploring the Parent-Child-Nature Relationship
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Because parents have been found to ultimately influence the degree to which their children have contact with the natural world (Chawla, 2015; Clements, 2004; Louv, 2005, Rivkin, 1998; Sobel, 2008), the parent-child-nature relationship (PCNR) was identified as the main area of interest for the research reported in this thesis. Family nature clubs have been recognized as platforms from which to achieve the parental engagement critical in fostering contact between children and natural settings and to nurture children’s interest in and concern for nature. Qualitative research approaches were employed to study the PCNR during an eight-week case study of a family nature club that included 11 participating families. The study was grounded in phenomenological and ethnographic methods including entry interviews, field observations, parents’ journal reflections and a concluding focus group. The observations and self-reflections made by the parents during the period of the case study provided new insights about the value of experiences in nature for their children and families and included developing an appreciation of nature as a safe partner in their children’s experiences and of the importance of following the child’s lead in the process.
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