Valerie responds to inquiry on ‘Natural Childhood’

On Friday 25 May 2012, Valerie responded to the ‘Natural Childhood’ inquiry, run by the National Trust, which aims to promote the value of children’s positive relationship with the outdoors.


Valerie said:


“Nature should be an important part of childhood, but many people do not have access to big gardens or green spaces. This is particularly the case for children living in urban areas like Walsall South.


“My recent report into obesity and diabetes programmes in England found that, on current trends, obesity is estimated to affect 25% of children by 2050. Greater engagement with nature could play a major role in helping to check this worrying development as it encourages a higher level of exercise and better personal health.


“Early intervention is key to encouraging an enthusiasm for nature. I endorse initiatives which are available to all children, regardless of where they live.”


Valerie’s suggestions were:


– All schools should be encouraged to have a ‘Nature Day’, dedicated to focussing on the benefits of engaging with nature;


– A city school being twinned with a school in the country or by the coast. This would also help bring together children from different communities and could help to establish friendships which could result in further visits to the countryside.


– Schools with National Trust membership to visit National Trust properties as part of school outings at least once a year in order to foster and continue the interest of their students in nature. Those schools without National Trust membership should consider becoming members or have a regular visits, such as to a working farm.


To find out more about the Natural Childhood inquiry, click here.