A research article written by Riikka Puhakka et al. has been published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The article is based on the fact that nature contacts are recognized as positively contributing to humans’ health and well-being. However, yard greening and microbial biodiversity have never been studied simultaneously. The authors examined whether simultaneously increasing biodiversity exposure and greening urban daycare yards affects children’s physical activity and play, their environmental relationships, and their perceived well-being. Six daycare yards in Finland were transformed using a forest floor with high biodiversity, sod, peat blocks, and planters for vegetable and flower growing.
Interview and survey-based data was collected to analyze how green yards encourage children’s engagement with their everyday life-worlds. Both the functional possibilities provided by the yards and the dynamic aspects related to the greening were identified in the study. Green, biodiverse yards were considered safe, and inspired children’s play, diversified their activities, and increased physical activity. The greenery offered embodied experiences of nature and provided the children with multi-sensory exploration and diverse learning situations. The dynamic and emotional ways of engaging with the natural environment increased their well-being. The activities related to caring for the yards and exploring them promoted the development of environmental relationships. The results can be used for designing health-enhancing yards.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: Greening of Daycare Yards with Biodiverse Materials Affords Well-Being, Play and Environmental Relationships