Pupils from schools in poorer areas are less interested in getting outdoors than their better-off counterparts before school nature trips, but the tables turn immediately afterwards, according to a new study.
The early findings of research by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) found that children from less well off schools – defined by a high proportion of free meals – 'were generally far less positive about nature and wildlife than their peers' before visiting one of the charity's wetlands centres.
However, after getting outdoors they 'had developed a greater interest and positive attitude, including wanting to do things to help wildlife'.
Spending time outdoors benefits children in a number of ways, says Lucy Hellier, WWT Learning Project Manager.
She says: "Young kids that learn and play outside are more likely to be healthy and active. They get direct experience of weather and the seasons and wildlife – things that are only possible outdoors – and they get to assess risks, solve problems and develop creativity.
"The benefits may seem obvious, but in reality many children don't get to be outdoors in a natural environment in any regular or meaningful way. And that's even more common among kids from deprived areas who, as a result, may be less enthusiastic about wildlife and nature."