This study examined the effect of nature preschools on the development of key protective factors associated with psychological resilience. The Deveraux Early Childhood Assessment for Preschoolers, Second Edition (DECA-P2), was used to assess the growth in the protective factors of initiative, self-regulation, and attachment in 87 children who attended nature, blended, and traditional preschool classes within the same school district. Study results suggest that nature preschool participation was important in the context of initiative. Blended classes, where some nature-based practices were incorporated into traditional preschool classes, were sufficient in the sense of being more impactful than traditional classes on self-regulation, attachment, and the total protective factors overall. Implications are discussed within the context of the limitations of the study.
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We wish to extend our sincere appreciation for the school district’s and teachers’ participation in this study, particularly in light of the study taking place during the pandemic and the additional responsibilities and stresses it placed on teachers. We also wish to thank the internal reviewers of this study, who also served as committee members of Hannah Juckett’s thesis committee, Dr. Scott Carlson, Associate Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean, College of Education and Human Service Professions, University of MN Duluth, and Sheila Williams Ridge, Director, Shirley G. Moore Lab School, University of Minnesota.
© Copyright © 2021 Ernst, Juckett and Sobel.
- nature preschools
- protective factors
- resilience (psychological)