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Influence of green vegetation on children's capacity of attention: A case study in Florence, Italy



In the present study we compared the effects on primary school children's capacity of attention of a garden dominated by green vegetation with those of a classroom lacking natural elements. Eighty pupils, eight and 10 years of age of similar education and intellectual faculties, were chosen to solve the so-called "Trail making test". Results showed that garden exposure significantly improved the attention of children. Implications of this finding are discussed in terms of guiding school policy and design.
Adv. Hort. Sci., 2006 20(3): 220-223
Received for publication 14 March 2006.
Accepted for publication 31July 2006.
Influence of green vegetation on children’s capacity
of attention: a case study in Florence, Italy
S. Mancuso, S. Rizzitelli, E. Azzarello
Dipartimento di Ortoflorofrutticoltura, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Viale delle Idee, 30, 50019
Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy.
Key words: attention capacity, children, nature, primary school.
Abstract:In the present study we compared the effects on primary school children’s capacity of attention of a
garden dominated by green vegetation with those of a classroom lacking natural elements. Eighty pupils, eight
and 10 years of age of similar education and intellectual faculties, were chosen to solve the so-called “Trail
making test”. Results showed that garden exposure significantly improved the attention of children. Implications
of this finding are discussed in terms of guiding school policy and design.
1. Introduction
Life in an urban setting can be both physically and
mentally stressful. Under these conditions a substantial
amount of vegetation is of paramount importance not
just to improve environmental conditions, but also for
human health and well-being. Abody of research has
emphasised the relationship between the presence of
plants in urban areas and stress reduction. Bennett and
Swasey (1996) proved that urban residents visit public
gardens to relax, reduce stress and for a sense of resto-
ration. Honeyman (1991) measured, by means of phy-
siologic parameters, the sense of relaxation and calm
coming from looking at plants, even in pictures.
Patients spending their convalescence in rooms facing
a garden recover more quickly than those sheltered in
rooms with windows looking out on buildings (Ulrich,
In the last year special attention on the positive
effects of plants on children and teen-agers has been
posed. Horticultural and gardening programs in the pri-
mary schools teach children to know and respect natu-
ral rhythms, to finish a labour with care, to work
together to realize and maintain their project. Moreo-
ver, theoretical and empirical work in landscape archi-
tecture and environmental psychology has addressed
numerous possible other benefits of nature for children,
including providing privacy (Nabhan and Trimble,
1994; Trancik and Evans, 1995), mental stimulation
(Faber Taylor et al., 1998), sensory stimulation (Strini-
ste and Moore, 1989) and supporting important deve-
lopmental activities such as play (Miller, 1972; Moore,
1986 a, 1989), creative forms of play (Jansson, 1984),
and exploratory and divergent thinking (Heseltine and
Holborn, 1987; Kirkby, 1989; Senda, 1992). Neverthe-
less, among this plethora of studies, only a few papers
have raised the question of nature’s potential impact on
children’s attention (Trancik and Evans, 1995; Wells,
2000; Faber Taylor et al., 2001).
The study described here evaluates the effectiveness
of the presence of plants in improving children’s and
students’learning ability. The specific objective was to
determine whether exposure of primary school children
to nature could influence their capacity to direct atten-
tion, defined as the capacity to inhibit or block distrac-
tions during purposeful activity, such as noise in the
external environment or worries in the internal one
(Posner and Snyder, 1975; Kaplan and Kaplan, 1982
a). The present study compared the attention-impro-
ving effects of a garden dominated by green vegetation
with those of a classroom lacking natural elements.
Findings showed that garden exposure significantly
improved the attention of primary school children
engaged in the simple task of taking an easy test.
2. Materials and Methods
This research was conducted at the primary school
“Andrea del Sarto” in Florence housed in ancient buil-
ding in the area of the urban park of “San Salvi” (about
10 ha area) and surrounded by a large garden planted
with trees where children can meet and play.
Atotal of 80 pupils, with similar education and
intellectual faculties, participated in this study. They
were chosen to solve the so-called “Trail making test”
(TMT). TMT was standardized by Partington and Lei-
ter (1949) who found the test to be a good predictor of
general mental ability. The test is used to point out skill
in perceiving visual and spatial stimuli and in changing
from a numerical stimulus to an alphabetical one.
Around 1944 the test became part of the Army Indivi-
dual Test of General Ability, and is now part of the Hal-
stead-Reitan Test Battery. It consists of two parts (Fig.
1): A) in as little time as possible the subject has to con-
nect, with a stroke of a pen, the numbers from 1 to 25
according to increasing order.The encircled numbers
are randomly spread across a sheet of paper (210 x 297
mm); B) on a sheet of paper are written the numbers
from 1 to 10 and the letters from A to L; the subject has
to connect every letter to the corresponding number (1-
A; 2-B; 3-C, etc.) in as little time as possible.
ple is exactly like the test and helps to understand and
solve it in the best way. TMT does not violate privacy
and does not upset the performer; an especially impor-
tant aspect when working with children.
Children were divided into two groups (40 each):
one composed of fourth year students (ten-year-old
pupils); the other of second year students (eight year
olds). The same-aged children had normal intellectual
faculties and they were prepared in a similar way. Ten-
year-old pupils were subjected to both tests (A and B),
whereas the younger ones did only test A.
Half of the students in each group (20 elements)
took the trails individually, in the presence of a teacher
and an operator, in a room without vegetation (the lin-
guistic lab); the other half did the same in the school
garden (Fig. 2). Trials were timed by an operator. He
began timing when a child started solving the test and
stopped when he completed it correctly; if the child
made a mistake, the operator corrected him and then let
him continue while the clock remained running.
Fig. 1 - Trail making test. Trial A (left): in the shortest time you have
to connect, with a stroke of a pen, the numbers from 1 to 25
according to an increasing order. Trial B (right): you have to
connect every letter (from Ato L) to the corresponding num-
ber (from 1 to 10) in the shortest time.
Normally, the entire test can be completed in 5 to 10
minutes. TMT evaluates numerous processes (Kay,
1984), such as:
1) Spatial organization, graphomotor speed, recogni-
tion of numbers, visual pursuit, vigilance and num-
ber sequences.
2) Part Aevaluates the process of rote memory.
3) Part B is associated with distinguishing between
numbers and letters, integration of two independent
series, ability to learn an organizing principle and
apply it systematically, serial retention and integra-
tion, verbal problem solving, and planning.
Both parts are simple and anonymous; they are pre-
ceded by an example to aid understanding. The exam-
Fig. 2 - Places where children took the trials: linguistic lab
(above) and garden (below).
All the data derived from the tests were subjected to
ANOVA using the program Statistica version 4.0 (Stat-
soft, Inc.).
3. Results and Discussion
Significant correlations were found between the
time needed to solve the test and the place where the
test was taken (Table 1). The second year pupils took
an average time of 178 s to solve test Ain the lab
(maximum 260 and minimum 122 s) and 142 s in the
garden (maximum 190 and minimum 102 s). These
data put in evidence a significant average difference of
36 s in favour of the children who took the trial out-
doors in the presence of vegetation.
In the lab the fourth year pupils took an average
time of 145 s (maximum 220, minimum 85 s) to solve
test A and 118 s for test B (maximum 290, minimum 64
s). In the garden the average time fell to 99 s (maxi-
mum 178, minimum 64 s) for the first trial and 66 s
(maximum 101, minimum 42 s) for the second one.
Also in this case, being surrounded by vegetation hel-
ped to save time: on average, 45 s for test Aand 52 s
for test B (Table 1).
Even if we exclude the extreme values from the
results (maximum and minimum times from each
group), we obtain significant differences (Table 1).
It is important to emphasise that the linguistic lab is
a quiet room, whereas in the garden, pupils involved in
the trials were exposed to noise from the street close by
and to other “disturbing” factors like wind and excessi-
ve warm temperature. However, pupils of the “Andrea
del Sarto” primary school usually spend much time in
the garden, studying or just walking with their teachers.
As a result they are inured to staying outdoors in con-
tact with nature and they did not mind the windy and
hot weather of the test day.
The notion that exposure to the natural environment
positively affects human well-being has been discussed
in many papers showing measured cognitive, psycho-
logical, and physiological benefits. Among these,
numerous studies have documented children’s prefe-
rence for natural green spaces. According with Wells
and Evans (2003) children’s preference for green natu-
ral spaces is a direct corollary of human evolution. Pre-
ferred environments are likely to afford long-term sur-
vival and are likely to be the settings in which humans
are more likely to function effectively (Kaplan and
Kaplan, 1982 b; Ulrich, 1983; Zube et al., 1983;
Class Place Test Mean time
(s) S.E. P
value Minimum
(s) Maximum
Table 1 - Impact of different environments on the time needed by children of different ages to solve the trail making test
Kaplan and Kaplan, 1989; Parsons et al., 1998). Nume-
rous studies have documented that children’s preferred
environments include a predominance of natural ele-
ments (Korpela, 2002). For example, Moore (1986 b)
reported that when urban children aged 9 to 12 were
asked to make a map or drawing of all their favourite
places, 96% of the illustrations were of outdoor places.
The children’s most frequently drawn favourite places
were lawns, playgrounds and schoolyards, their own
home, local parks, and single trees. Sebba (1991)
reported that when asked to describe the most impor-
tant or preferred place of their childhood, a large part of
adults indicated outdoor places. When examining both
British and Caribbean children, Sobel (1993) found
that children generally preferred natural play spaces. In
his study on the experience of growing up in cities,
Lynch discovered a general appreciation for vegeta-
tion: younger people frequently suggested that more
trees should be planted in the urban environment. “The
hunger for trees is outspoken and seemingly univer-
sal… Landscaping should be as essential a part of the
basic infrastructure of a settlement as electricity, water,
sewer, and paving” (Lynch, 1977). Given the evidence,
it is reasonable to expect that green natural settings,
preferred by children, would also have a beneficial
effect on children’s well-being. More recently, Faber
Taylor and co-workers (2001) documented that activi-
ties in green settings tend to reduce symptoms in chil-
dren who struggle with a chronic attention deficit due
to Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
The results of our research are consistent with pre-
vious studies confirming that the environment plays an
important role in children’s development. Children
spend as many as 40-50 hr per week in institutional and
out-of-home care situations; so the play yards associa-
ted with these settings become one of the most impor-
tant places where they have experiences with nature
(Herrington and Stundtmann, 1998). Landscape desi-
gners have to realize that the plan of an outdoor play
space can influence the different aspects of children
development, i.e. social, cognitive, and emotional
(Whiteouse et al., 2001); they have to create interesting
and stimulating places, especially around schools,
where children spend so much time. Since the pionee-
ring work of Jean Piaget, Rudolf Steiner and Maria
Montessori, a lot of scientists and educators have reco-
gnized that a rich, multi-sensory learning environment
is essential for the cognitive and emotional develop-
ment of a child. Aschool garden, with its shapes and
textures, colours, smells and sounds, can be beneficial
for the development of the growing child and the
school community.
4. Conclusions
Results of this study confirm that even a brief expo-
sure to the natural environment may have some benefi-
cial effects on children’s capacity to direct attention.
The green environment at school may play a far more
significant role in the well-being of children than has
previously been recognized. The notion that nature
plays a positive role in improving children’s perfor-
mance at school has a number of implications, mainly
for policy and for the design of school children’s envi-
ronments. Green schoolyards, enhancing the children’s
attentional capacity, could play a central role in the
improvement of pupils’academic performance. Access
to vegetation and natural areas can help in the attenua-
tion of adverse affects of stressors often encountered by
children in the first years of school. However, further
research to explore the features of the nature-attention
relationship, and with regard also to the effects of dif-
ferent types of green areas, are needed.
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... Seven studies did not provide necessary details that would allow proper identification of the cognitive assessment tools applied, such as author names, year and country of publication. Four studies were given a lower rating because they applied Berto et al., 2015;Mygind et al., 2018;Schutte et al., 2017b;Stevenson et al., 2019;Torquati et al., 2017;Wells 2000 50-100 7 Amicone et al., 2018 (study 1);Bernardo et al., 2021;Johnson et al., 2019;Kelz et al., 2013;Li and Sullivan, 2016;Mancuso et al., 2006;Wallner et al., 2018101-500 7 Anabitarte et al., 2021Anabitarte et al., 2022;Asta et al., 2021;Bakir-Demir et al., 2019;Dockx et al., 2022;Lee et al., 2021;van den Berg et al., 2016501-10006 Bijnens et al., 2020Bijnens et al., 2022;Jimenez et al., 2021a;Jimenez et al., 2021b;Lindemann-Matthies et al., 2021;van Dijk-Wesselius et al., 20181001-5000 9 Almeida et al., 2022Dadvand et al., 2015;Dadvand et al., 2017;Flouri et al., 2019;Flouri et al., 2022;Julvez et al., 2021;Liao et al., 2019;Maes et al., 2021;Reuben et al., 2019>5000 2 Binter et al., 2022Jarvis et al., 2021 ...
... Observational 22 Almeida et al., 2022;Anabitarte et al., 2022;Asta et al., 2021;Bakir-Demir et al., 2019;Bijnens et al., 2020;Bijnens et al., 2022;Binter et al., 2022;Dadvand et al., 2015;Dadvand et al., 2017;Dockx et al., 2022;Flouri et al., 2019;Flouri et al., 2022;Jarvis et al., 2021;Jimenez et al., 2021a;Jimenez et al., 2021b;Julvez et al., 2021;Lee et al., 2021;Liao et al., 2019;Lindemann-Matthies et al., 2021;Maes et al., 2021;Reuben et al., 2019;Wells 2000Experimental/quasi experimental 15 Amicone et al., 2018Anabitarte et al., 2021;Bernardo et al., 2021;Berto et al., 2015;Johnson et al., 2019;Kelz et al., 2013;Li and Sullivan, 2016;Mancuso et al., 2006;Mygind et al., 2018;Stevenson et al., 2019;Schutte et al., 2017b;Torquati et al., 2017;van den Berg et al., 2016;van Dijk-Wesselius et al., 2018;Wallner et al., 2018 ...
... Children (0-10 years) 15 Almeida et al., 2022;Amicone et al., 2018;Anabitarte et al., 2021;Asta et al., 2021;Bernardo et al., 2021;Binter et al., 2022;Dadvand et al., 2017;Dockx et al., 2022;Jimenez et al., 2021b;Julvez et al., 2021;Lee et al., 2021;Liao et al., 2019;Mancuso et al., 2006;Mygind et al., 2018;Schutte et al., 2017b Adolescents (11-18 years) 5 Bijnens et al., 2022;Flouri et al., 2019;Kelz et al., 2013;Li and Sullivan, 2016;Wallner et al., 2018Both 17 Anabitarte et al., 2022Bakir-Demir et al., 2019;Berto et al., 2015;Bijnens et al., 2020;Dadvand et al., 2015;Flouri et al., 2022;Jarvis et al., 2021;Jimenez et al., 2021a;Johnson et al., 2019;Lindemann-Matthies et al., 2021;Maes et al., 2021;Reuben et al., 2019;Stevenson et al., 2019;Torquati et al., 2017;van den Berg et al., 2016;van Dijk-Wesselius et al., 2018;Wells 2000 Year of publication 2 Wells 2000Mancuso et al., 20063 Berto et al., 2015Dadvand et al., 2015;Kelz et al., 2013Kelz et al., 2016Kelz et al., -2020 16 Amicone et al., 2018;Bakir-Demir et al., 2019;Bijnens et al., 2020;Dadvand et al., 2017;Flouri et al., 2019;Johnson et al., 2019;Li and Sullivan, 2016;Liao et al., 2019;Mygind et al., 2018;Reuben et al., 2019;Stevenson et al., 2019;Schutte et al., 2017b;Torquati et al., 2017;van den Berg et al., 2016;van Dijk-Wesselius et al., 2018;Wallner et al., 2018 16 Almeida et al., 2022;Anabitarte et al., 2021;Anabitarte et al., 2022;Asta et al., 2021;Bernardo et al., 2021;Bijnens et al., 2022;Binter et al., 2022;Dockx et al., 2022;Flouri et al., 2022;Jarvis et al., 2021;Jimenez et al., 2021a;Jimenez et al., 2021b;Julvez et al., 2021;Lee et al., 2021;Lindemann-Matthies et al., 2021;Maes et al., 2021 ...
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Background: The field of greenspace and bluespace research in relation to cognitive outcomes is rapidly growing. Several systematic reviews have already been published on this topic but none of them are specific to cognitive outcomes in the entire age range of children. Moreover, only a few of them have examined the effects of bluespace in addition to greenspace. Also, theses reviews are focused either only on observational studies or experimental studies. Our systematic review focuses on cognitive outcomes in relation to greenspace and bluespace in children and adolescents aged 0-18; it captures both observational and experimental studies. Cognitive outcomes are presented according to an evidence-based taxonomy of human cognitive abilities: the Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) theory. Methods: We conducted searches in the PubMed and PsychInfo databases, from their inception dates to 17 December 2021. We used three-text terms related to outcome, exposure, and population as well as MeSH terms for outcome and population. Further, the reference lists and existing reviews were searched ("snowball" search) until 21 April 2022 to detect additional studies. For the results reporting, we followed the updated guidelines of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta Analyses (PRISMA). We included observational and experimental studies on greenspace or bluespace exposure in relation to cognitive functioning, published in English, German, or Polish. Two reviewers independently checked study eligibility and extracted data. Two reviewers evaluated the risk of bias according to the Office of Health Assessment and Translation (OHAT) tool. At all stages, discrepancies between the two reviewers were solved via discussion with a third reviewer. Results: Records identified from PubMed (n = 2030) and PsycINFO (n = 1168) were deduplicated and screened. Twenty one reports were first selected. The "snowball" search revealed 16 additional reports. Altogether, 39 studies (17 experimental and 22 observational) published in 37 reports were qualified. The data extraction showed that the methodology used in the studies was heterogenous and the findings were inconsistent. The majority of the studies investigated attentional functioning, which we subdivided into two categories according to the CHC theory: attentional control and reaction and decision speed (12 studies) and attentional control and processing speed (10 studies). Eleven studies investigated working memory and/or short-term memory that we categorized as CHC working memory capacity. Nine studies investigated intellectual functioning, which we categorized as CHC general ability, fluid reasoning, and comprehension-knowledge. Two studies investigated visual-spatial skills, which we categorized as CHC visual processing and psychomotor speed. One study measured parent-reported attention; two studies examined early childhood/cognitive development; three studies examined decision-making and self-regulation, which can be categorized as several CHC theory abilities. Discussion: The heterogeneity of the included studies does not permit clear conclusions for our review. In accordance with previous systematic reviews, greenspace and bluespace were not more strongly related to a particular domain of cognitive functioning than other cognitive domains, and no effects of age or type of exposure assessment on the association between nature and cognition were detected. Further research is needed, including state-of-the-art of assessment of cognitive outcomes and diverse exposure assessment methods within both observational and experimental approaches. Expertise will be required in several domains, such as environmental epidemiology, cognitive psychology, and neuropsychology. Systematic review registration number (INPLASY): 202220018.
... Although there are, still, unanswered questions on the effectiveness of teaching in virtual environments, research seems clearer, when it comes to the impacts of nature experiences on human cognitive function and mental health [15,16]. Outdoor educational spaces, also, seem to have benefits for learning and general wellbeing [17][18][19]. For instance, cognitive research has shown that school-aged children can demonstrate improved performance on mental tasks, such as memory, when such tasks are undertaken in a natural setting [17]. ...
... Outdoor educational spaces, also, seem to have benefits for learning and general wellbeing [17][18][19]. For instance, cognitive research has shown that school-aged children can demonstrate improved performance on mental tasks, such as memory, when such tasks are undertaken in a natural setting [17]. Other studies have shown that children, who attend pre-schools with natural outdoor play areas, scored better when tested for executive functioning [18]. ...
... Regarding cognitive performances in natural settings, studies have shown that individuals can demonstrate improved performance on mental tasks, such as memory, when such tasks are undertaken in a natural setting [17]. Other studies have shown that children who attend pre-schools with natural outdoor play areas scored better when tested for cognitive functioning [18]. ...
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Purpose: This one-group pretest-posttest, designed within a subject study, looks to compare the effects of an outdoor nature walk (ONW) to those of a virtual nature walk (VRW) on memory and cognitive function. Implications are discussed for education as well as for the world of virtual reality. Methods: Sixty-four healthy university students were asked to complete an ONW and a VRW, which was created using 3D video of the same nature trail used for the ONW. The VRW condition involved a five-minute walk on a treadmill, while wearing a virtual reality mask (Oculus, San Francisco, USA) that projected a previously recorded three-dimensional capture of the same nature walk they experienced outdoors. Both experimental conditions lasted approximately 5 min and were counterbalanced between participants. A Digit Span Test (Digit) for working memory and a Trail Test (TMT) for executive function were administered to all study participants, immediately before and after each type of walk. Results: For executive function testing (Trail Making Test), our results demonstrate that both the ONW and VRW condition improved the TMT time, when compared to a baseline (ONW 37.06 ± 1.31 s vs. 31.75 ± 1.07 s, p < 0.01 and VRW 36.19 ± 1.18 s vs. 30.69 ± 1.11 s, p < 0.01). There was no significant difference between the ONW and VRW groups. Similarly, for the Digit memory task, both conditions improved compared to the baseline (ONW 54.30 ± 3.01 vs. 68.4 ± 2.66, p < 0.01 and VRW 58.1 ± 3.10 vs. 67.4 ± 2.72, p < 0.01). There was a difference at the baseline between the ONW and VRW conditions (54.3 ± 3.01 vs. 58.1 ± 3.10, p < 0.01), but this baseline difference in memory performance was no longer significant post exercise, between groups at follow-up (68.4 ± 2.66 vs. 67.4 ± 2.72, p < 0.08). Conclusions: Our results suggest that both a virtual reality protocol and a nature walk can have positive outcomes on memory and executive function in younger adults.
... It has been well documented that natural environments and green spaces are more restorative to human physiological and psychological well-being than, for example, built environments [36,37]. Surroundings with grass have a relatively high potential to support human well-being in cities, resulting in more enthusiasm for undertaking jobs, less frustration, more patience, and fewer physical ailments [38,39]. ...
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This article presents perennial grasses, without whose presence it is impossible to imagine the natural environment as well as agriculture, recreation, sport, and satisfactory aesthetics of the environment. Grasses have by far the widest distribution of all flowering families, grow on every continent, and are part of all the major biomes of the terrestrial world. They not only occur in almost all types of natural landscapes but also find a prominent place in the agricultural landscape. Grasses are not only a source of food for people (wheat, rice, maize, millet, etc.) and feed for livestock, but also a source of energy, building materials, a component of paper pulp, etc. Moreover, grasses have numerous uses to enhance the beauty of the surrounding landscape, bring relaxation, health, and comfort to people (i.e., gardens, parks, and sports facilities), and support land protection. This article describes just these, not often mentioned, and characterized grass uses, with an emphasis on the relationship between different species of perennial grasses and their functionality. The aim is to show the various aspects of the amenity use of grasses in the context of species diversity and their future under the conditions of a changing climate.
... This finding is supported by previous research. Mancuso, Rizzitelli, and Azzarello (2006) included 80 students who completed the 'trail making test' which measures directed attention. Students completed this test in either i) a standard classroom or ii) an outdoor natural area. ...
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Health care providers are increasingly prescribing nature exposure to treat emotional, behavioural and cognitive difficulties of children who experience challenging personal and social circumstances. Correlational studies suggest these prescriptions have short-term potential. The capacity for nature exposure to promote long-term change is unclear. This paper presents the results of a systematic review exploring the ability of the natural environment to promote behavioural, cognitive or emotional change in young people. A systematic review of CINAHL, Medline, Scopus, Embase, PsychInfo produced 59,221 papers. Six met the review criteria. Synthesis suggested that passive nature exposure promotes positive changes in attention, memory and mood; little is known about behavioural changes and long-term outcomes. It is unknown how these changes translate to real world outcomes for children and how the effect of nature varies across different age groups. Overall, prescribing nature exposure for children appears advantageous. Randomised control trials and diverse qualitative methods using reliable outcome measures are needed to draw definitive conclusions.
... Some researchers have found that students' attention to schoolwork is improved simply by being close to nature -for example, by having a green plant wall installed in their classroom or by completing tasks outdoors rather than indoors (Mancuso, Rizzitelli, & Azzarello, 2006; Van den Berg et al., 2016). In one study, When do kids need a break, and what kind of break will allow them to refocus their attention on academic tasks? ...
An emerging line of research suggests that a short walk in a natural setting may be the best way to restore students’ flagging attention. To help students recover from the inevitable fatigue that accompanies the deep attention expected in schools, educators have always built some breaks into the schedule. Now, researchers are suggesting that students may benefit most when those breaks include being allowed to take walks in natural settings, play in nature, study outdoors, and often by simply being close to vegetation during the school day. Around the world, educators are experimenting with new school designs that put natural features in the foreground.
... In the cognitive domain, research among school-age children has shown improvements in parental evaluations of inattention and hyperactivity in children from poor neighbourhoods who moved to better quality homes (Wells 2000), better selfdiscipline in children who live in apartments with views of nature (Faber Taylor et al. 2002), and better performance on cognitive tasks when these tasks are carried out in the garden of a school (Mancuso et al. 2006). A recent study also showed that children in pre-schools with natural outdoor play areas scored better on a test for cognitive functioning (Mårtensson et al. 2009). ...
A link has been suggested between children's disconnection from nature and the recent surge in childhood disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Research on benefits of nature for healthy children provides some support for such a link. However, only a few studies have directly examined the influence of contact with nature on children with ADHD. The aim of the present research was to gain more insight into the behaviour and emotional and cognitive functioning of children with ADHD in a natural and built setting. Two groups of six children (age 9-17) who stayed at care farms for children with ADHD in the Netherlands were systematically observed, questioned, and tested during visits to a wooded area and a small town. Both groups performed better on a concentration task in the woods than in the town, despite the fact that all children visited the town after the woods and thus their scores in the town were possibly inflated by learning effects. However, the behaviour and emotional functioning in the two settings differed between the groups. One group of children liked the woods better than the town and displayed more positive behaviours and feelings in the natural environment. The other group of children liked the town equally well as the woods and displayed positive behaviours and feelings in both settings, although they showed somewhat more non-social, aggressive, inattentive, impulsive and hyperactive behaviour in the town than in the woods. These results suggest that natural areas provide a consistent positive environment for children with ADHD. However, more research is needed to obtain a fuller understanding of the influences of the physical environment on children with ADHD.
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Rapid urbanization and growth in the Kalurahan Wonokromo, situated in the peri-urban area of Yogyakarta City causes the loss of children's playgrounds while the number of children is increasing. Preserving the remaining space for Green Open Space (GOS) is crucial. Amid the space limit, choosing the right location is one of the keys to ensuring the space functions optimally. We employ the Spatial Multi-Criteria Analysis (SMCA) in selecting several location candidates for the development of GOS using 9 criteria of tree cover, existing open green space, ricefield, social facilities, accessibility, distance to school, presence of small shop, children density, and the riverbank. The SMCA analysis is powered by Analytical Hierarchical Process using expert judgment combined with GIS analysis to yield the weight priority and score for each criterion. As the result, the score for each criterion is 0.3218 for existing open green space, 0.1616 for social facilities 0.1446 for small shops, 0.1265 for roads or accessibility, 0.085 for vegetation, 0.0504 for distance to school, 0.0499 for the riverbank, 0.0367 for the children density, 0.0234 for the ricefield. We obtain 9 candidates for the GOS. The Kalurahan Wonokromo has also planned to build and rehabilitate the open space but needs to acknowledge the needs for GOS from gated communities and pesantren communities as the different types of communities with a different kind of GOS.
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In the following paper, the possibility of using fruit tree species, including minor fruit trees, in an urban area of Perugia (Italy), was represented, considering their possible productive, ecosystem and economic contribution. The simulated food forest, created through the use of a web app, can be regarded as an "organic green area" in which different fruit trees grow without resorting to the use of synthetic chemicals, respecting the ecosystem and minimizing soil exploitation. Among the four chosen species ( Arbutus unedo, Morus nigra, Prunus avium, Ficus carica ), both Ficus carica and Morus nigra showed good potential fruit production and storage of CO 2 from the environment, in particular, the species Morus nigra had the highest potential economic value, considering fruit selling in a 50-year time frame.
At this time in history and in the current environment, reality is dual: digital and natural. Every hyperconnected young person embodies this duality, in which conflict arises when technology goes from being a tool and a culture to becoming a goal and an addiction. Intensity and frequency are two variables that quantify the impact of the threat along with purpose in the use of digital reality.
In this paper we analyse the alignment of pseudo-educational identities being generated by digital governance in collaborative culture frameworks. Our starting point is the premise that the digital identity of young people responds to a large extent to the projection of the digitalisation narratives contained in the international political agenda (European strategic frameworks and global power bodies) but most importantly to the reconversion of mechanisms carried out by governance. Under the argument of community capital, collaborative representation processes are introduced in an industrial terrain where pseudo-educational identities are gaining ground. Giroux (Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education. Chicago: Haymarket Books 2014) refers to a fictitious social aspect of digital governance that is revealed from coordinates of personal proximity and entertainment with a public register. In this chapter, we try to reflect on collaborative platforms as new forms of expression of institutional tools.
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General characteristics of the topic Environmental psychology first attracted the attention of Estonian psychology as a topic of research and theoretical thought in the early 1970s (in the USA and England, this area of study acquired official recognition in the late 1960s). The first postgraduate programs in this area of specialization were started in American universities in 1968-69. The first book with the title Environmental psychology was published in 1970 (Proshansky, Ittelson, & Rivlin, 1970). Estonian studies in this area began with the development of some original procedures for investigating the family and housing and with a critical analysis of foreign developments in environmental psychology.
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Attention Restoration Theory suggests that contact with nature supports attentional functioning, and a number of studies have found contact with everyday nature to be related to attention in adults. Is contact with everyday nature also related to the attentional functioning of children? This question was addressed through a study focusing on children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). This study examined the relationship between children’s nature exposure through leisure activities and their attentional functioning using both within and between-subjects comparisons. Parents were surveyed regarding their child’s attentional functioning after activities in several settings. Results indicate that children function better than usual after activities in green settings and that the “greener” a child’s play area, the less severe his or her attention deficit symptoms. Thus, contact with nature may support attentional functioning in a population of children who desperately need attentional support.
The negative effects of the urban situation on human well-being are well documented, contribute to stress, weaken coping skills, and evoke a negative self-appraisal from residents continually surrounded by bleak settings (Stainbrook, 1973). The following research suggests that urban residents may visit public gardens as a means of coping with the stresses of city life. Results of a survey of urban visitors to two urban public gardens indicate that stress reduction is an important reason for visiting the gardens. The research also indicates a trend of reduced levels of selfperceived stress after a garden visit.
The nearby natural environment plays a far more significant role in the well-being of children residing in poor urban environments than has previously been recognized. Using a premove/postmove longitudinal design, this research explores the linkage between the naturalness or restorativeness of the home environment and the cognitive functioning of 17 low-income urban children (aged 7–12 yrs). Both before and after relocation, objective measures of naturalness were used along with a standardized instrument (the Attention Deficit Disorders Evaluation Scale) measuring the children's cognitive functioning. Results show that children whose homes improved the most in terms of greenness following relocation also tended to have the highest levels of cognitive functioning following the move. The implications with respect to policy and design are also discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)