The Nature and Nurture of Resilience: Exploring the Impact of Nature Preschools on Young Children’s Protective Factors

Ernst J., Johnson M., Burçak F.

The International Journal of Early Childhood Environmental Education, vol.2, no.6, pp.7-18, 2018 (Refereed Journals of Other Institutions)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 2 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Title of Journal : The International Journal of Early Childhood Environmental Education
  • Page Numbers: pp.7-18


Resilience, the capacity to cope with stress and adversity, is universally regarded as a positive and valued trait (LeBuffe & Naglieri, 2012). The purpose of this study was to explore the potential for nature preschools to support the development of initiative, self-regulation, and attachment, which are key protective factors that can offset or moderate the effects of stress and adversity and allow a child to thrive or even by transformed by adversity. The Deveraux Early Childhood Assessment for Preschoolers, Second Edition (DECA-P2) was used in a pretest and posttest of a sample of 78 children who attended nature preschools, as well as in a baseline group of 14 children who attended a non-nature preschool. Results suggest a significant strengthening of these protective factors over the course of a school year in preschool participants who attended a nature preschool. Implications are discussed in the context of the study’s limitations.