At ConnectByNature we focus primarily on building resiliency skills for life through connection to nature and animals, including horses. Our unique NatureBrain™ approach is evidence informed and draws upon nature’s health benefits and nature’s life strategies to develop habits of mind and behavior that promote mental health and resilience in childhood and beyond.
Why Children's Brains Need Nature
Nature is inherently engaging and is always changing, yet it has a calming, regulating influence, along with rich opportunities for learning and many health benefits (Johnstone et al., 2022; Snells, 2020; Stenfors, 2019; Tennessean & Cimprich, 1995). For these reasons, nature provides an ideal context for a child's healthy social and emotional development that lays the foundation for their mental health and resilience
throughout their lives.
In Canada, 1.2 million children and youth are affected by mental illness. By the age of 25 that number rises to 7.5 million, or one in five Canadians (MHCC, 2023).
In fact, nature has something to teach us about resilience and sustainable health and well being. This knowledge is reflected in the ancient ways of knowing of Indigenous peoples in Canada and other place- based cultures from around the world. Increasingly, scientists and designers, as well as innovators across industries are taking notice of nature's intelligence and ‘asking nature’ for solutions to human challenges, using an approach called Biomimicry.
Nature's Life Strategies
Most living organisms that are alive and thriving today are here because they have learned to:
Adapt to change and build their capacity to develop and grow in sustainable ways that enables a diversity of life to flourish.
This requires that living organisms adopt
life strategies that enable their resilience including being locally attuned and responsive, able to adapt to changing conditions, continuously evolving to survive, and being resource efficient (Biomimicry Institute, 2023)
NatureBrain ™ is about learning from nature's strategies
how to thrive in life with nature as a model, mentor, and measure for developing habits of mind, body and behaviour to sustain health and well being into the future
Biomimicry is a science and practice
that learns from and mimics
the strategies found in nature to
solve human challenges-
NatureBrain ™ creates opportunities for children and youth of any age, orientation, or ability, to connect with nature and develop the social- emotional skills for mental health and resilience in everyday life. This involves learning from nature's strategies how to adapt to change and develop and grow as a person in ways that nurture lifelong health and well being. This includes learning to:
Be attuned and responsive to changes within the environment, others, and oneself (related social-emotional skills: self regulation; self awareness; interoceptive awareness; attention control; reading social and environmental cues)
Build connections and relationships that support and sustain everyday functioning, participation and diversity (related social-emotional skills: developing empathy; adopting diverse perspectives; prosocial/cooperative behaviour; social problem solving)
Identify and leverage resources and supports to meet functional goals and adapt as needed, within the constraints of nature's limits and boundaries (related social -emotional skills: working memory and planning skills; critical thinking; cognitive flexibility; sustainability thinking)