Why is Environmental Engagement Important for Children?

A report by the Children’s Commissioner has concluded that environmental engagement is imperative for children. It was written in Issue 1 of Children’s Insights that the health of the environment remains one of their largest concerns for children.

Researchers asked children aged 10 to 17 from 2,400 households what they were most worried about. Along with crime, the most common concern was the environment, with 45% of girls and 36% of boys saying they were worried about it. It is likely that the visibility of activists such as Greta Thunberg and changes to school curriculum to include environmental problems have caused these figures.

Over recent years, government green initiatives have been pushed to the bottom of the agenda and has seen 92% of councils reduce park funding. Not only does this affect local climate and ecology, it also poses risks to the mental and physical health of children in the local area. The outdoors increase activity levels, serotonin and have other wellbeing benefits widely associated with nature. Discover more about the effects of the outdoors on mental health.

Without increased investment into the outdoors, children will spend less time outdoors engaging with nature. In turn, they are likely to value it less. It is therefore important that schools, councils and other access providers make investment into the outdoors a priority. By acting now, children will continue to care about the environment and will understand its importance in their health.

The Children’s Commissioner’s report also stated that a lack of engagement with the outdoors means that children will spend more time inside, ‘heightening exposure to indoor air pollution’. They conclude that if environmental neglect continues, as a society, we fail to help children and risk generations of disengagement and damage for years to come.

Nurturing a relationship with nature

The outdoors and outdoor education is crucial to child development. In order to nurture a relationship with nature and increase engagement with the outdoors, A Wilderness Way provide an outdoor programme called Wilderness Experiences.

As part of our Wilderness Experiences, we provide outdoor education for children and young people in our care. Looking beyond standard approaches to education, our alternative education outcomes are achieved with the support from our outdoor experiences. The children and young people in our care can take part in a range of different outdoor activities such as:

  • Ghyll scrambling
  • Rock climbing
  • Abseiling
  • Raft building
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Orienteering

By providing access to a range of outdoor activities, we support the young people within our care with exposure to the outdoors. To find out more about our outdoor experiences, please email us at

What Others Say About Us

I am truly taken aback by the level of care you have shown. The staff have gone out of their way to show him the attention and care that he has never had. When I visited him, it was like I was looking at a different child to what he was before he came. He was not like a child in care, he was like a child in a family. You have literally saved his life.

Social Worker

All children and young people thrive, and they make progress while living at the home. Because of the services provided the children and young people experience an individualised, stable and consistent home life. Children and young people benefit from the integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to education and care. They each achieve their full potential and, in many cases, do so beyond previous expectations.


I am so grateful to the AWW team for their dedication and commitment to caring and supporting Sam. He recently reported that being at there gave him the space to think and the opportunity to reflect on his attitude and make plans for his future.

Social Worker

I have to share my delight at Luke’s progress at AWW. Thanks to your support, in the last 17 weeks Luke and has turned his life around significantly. From where he has come from to where he is now, I am so proud of him.

Social Worker

The placement was really good and beneficial to me. The staff were all really supportive and nice and always made themselves available to me if I had any problems. The outdoor activities that were offered helped me to have a better outlook and showed me that I can do so much more in life, and it really helped me process and made me feel like a better person.


As METCO Officer for Cumbria Police I have regular contact with the team at AWW in relation to vulnerable children at risk of CSE and going missing. If a specific incident has occurred, the Home Manager and I speak on the phone to discuss the best way forward. She also attends CSE risk assessment meetings and we receive Philomena Protocol forms when a young person arrives in placement.

Cumbria Police