Children’s experiences of nature in primary school architecture : case studies in Glasgow, Scotland, UK and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2022
Thesis identifier
  • T16333
Person Identifier (Local)
  • 201784012
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • Nature plays a vital role in the development of children, and direct encounters with nature, experienced through all of a child’s senses, form the foundation for their connectedness to nature. While the existing broad body of research into children’s connections with nature identifies a societal responsibility to offer experiences of nature within educational environments, in order to further enhance children’s sensorial experience of nature at schools, there is a need to provide clear evidence on the effectiveness and impact of related spatial and non-spatial features within these specific environments. This study focuses on measuring and observing children’s visual and non-visual sensorial experiences of nature within primary school spaces in Glasgow, Scotland, and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam with the child-centred methodological approaches combining both qualitative and quantitative investigations. The educational environments studied are located within specific urban environmental contexts and climatic conditions, and are aligned with particular educational philosophies. The core purpose of this study is to provide evidence based arguments that advance the children and nature movement, and address a widening disconnect with nature that has been observed across the world. The thesis indicates the importance of early natural experiences and argues that to achieve desired improvements in primary school architectural environments, a child-centred holistic approach to design proposals that promote children’s multisensorial experiences of nature is needed. The findings of this study confirm that built and natural environments influence children’s senses, and their connections with nature in schools. The more wilderness at school children are exposed to, the more intensively their connectedness to nature are formed, the more their affinity toward nature are promoted. The outcomes of the work support primary school design decision-making through the enhancement of children’s positive experiences of nature, and aim to promote improvements in their health and wellbeing through the enrichment of the child-nature connection.
Advisor / supervisor
  • Salama, Ashraf
  • Grierson, David
Resource Type