HAE Interactions as Context

Human-Animal-Environment Interactions as a Context for Child and Adolescent Growth

This study is the first in a series of qualitative studies, and focused on describing the essence and nature of special education teachers’ lived experiences in incorporating nature-based interventions as a tool to improve youth social-emotional learning outcomes and promote positive youth development. It is also one of the first to examine nature-based interventions that are being implemented in a positive youth development context. This approach uses a strengths-based lens that views youth development as a process of mutual influence between youth and components of their social, constructed, and natural environment.

Almost universally, teaching staff perceive nature-based interventions to effect marked improvement in:

  • Prosocial behavior
  • Caregiving and nurturing
  • Connection to animals, plants and humans
  • Curiosity and excitement about learning

While staff acknowledged occasional or temporary challenges and barriers to student participation, overall, the nature-based activities are viewed as an essential component of the Green Chimneys education and treatment model.

Read published findings in Journal of Youth Development