Children’s Engagement with the Natural World as a Ground for Healing

  • Louise ChawlaEmail author


This chapter examines children’s affinity for the natural world, benefits for children from contact with nature, and how programs for ecological restoration and caring for plants and animals can promote young people’s resilience and recovery after conflict and disasters. Masten (2001, p. 228) defines resilience in childhood as ‘good outcomes in spite of threats to adaptation or development’. It is not a special attribute that makes some children invulnerable to adversity, but what Masten calls the ‘ordinary magic’ that happens when children manage to find essential resources for healthy development even in difficult circumstances. The literature on resilience has emphasized the importance of caring social relationships and supportive institutions like effective schools, not recognizing that children can draw strength and healing from the natural world as well. Most of the literature on helping children affected by war and natural disasters also neglects this potential. This chapter demonstrates the value of children’s relationships with nature and the importance of integrating healing green spaces into programs to help children recover after disasters and conflict.


Children Nature Gardening Resilience Recovery from trauma Health 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Design ProgramUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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