Home Institution

College of Wooster

Publication Date

Fall 2019

Program Name

Australia: Sustainability and Environmental Action


Responding to climate change and the state of the world demands psychological resilience and a transformative shift towards sustainable behavior. Children inheriting our uncertain future require psychological support and tools of well-being to fuel emotionally sustainable activism. In this paper I investigate how best to support upper primary aged children through environmental and social issues with Joyality 4 Kids, an educational ecopsychology program.

During November of 2019 I completed the Joyality Program processes independently, then conducted two focus group interviews with five individuals experienced in the Joyality Program and/or environmental education to develop the processes for an eight-hour Joyality 4 Kids workshop. I then trialed the two-day workshop with ten children in Brunswick Heads, NSW and assessed it using participant surveys and co-facilitator observations. Additionally, I surveyed 79 parents and teachers online.

I found that children have high levels of anxiety about climate change, are very environmentally active, and respond well when given space to express their negative feelings but require more support noticing positive aspects of their world. Parent/teacher anxieties inhibit them from providing children support out of fear of exasperating their children/student’s emotions. I discovered that parents and teachers desire resources to help them know how to support children. I found that to best meet the needs of children and their caretakers, Joyality 4 Kids should offer dualistic programs that equip both parents/teachers and children with well-being tools of focusing on positives, holding hope, taking meaningful action, sharing deeper feelings, practicing gratitude, and spending time in nature.


Australian Studies | Child Psychology | Climate | Early Childhood Education | Environmental Education | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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