The Reading / Listening – Woodland – Level 2

Woodland in cities gives children better mental health. Researchers say children who visit and experience the great outdoors every day also have better thinking skills. Researchers from University College London looked at how woodland benefits city children. They said their research helped their understanding “of the natural environment as an important protective factor for [a child’s] cognitive development and mental health”. They added that seeing and hearing the sounds of nature provides psychological benefits for children, especially those in cities.

In their four-year study, researchers studied 3,568 children at 31 schools in London. They looked at how the natural environment affected thinking skills and mental health. They calculated how woodland, parks, and “blue space” like rivers, lakes and the sea, affected children’s health. The children took memory-based tests. Those who visited woodland every day scored higher on the tests and had a 17 per cent lower risk of behavioural problems. A researcher said all children should experience “forest bathing”. This is enjoying “the sights, sounds and smells of a forest”.