Sharing postcards about where we live: early childhood environmental understanding

Sorin, Reesa (2014) Sharing postcards about where we live: early childhood environmental understanding. International Journal of Early Childhood Learning, 20 (3). pp. 35-49.

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Abstract

Louv's 2005 book, "Last Child in the Woods," highlights the growing divide between children and their local, natural environments, which he referred to as "nature deficit disorder." Yet, children today are the ones who will be responsible for the maintenance of a sustainable future. In the early years of life, attitudes are formative, and so this is a time when understanding and habits of sustainability are best developed. This action research study, conducted in kindergarten/pre-Preparatory (ages 4-5) classes in Australia and in Canada, utilised postcard creating and sharing in an online environment to facilitate environmental understanding in young children. Using arts-based methods of drawing and storytelling, children in Australia created postcards for their peers in Canada, constructing their knowledge and understanding about local and foreign environments in the process. Children were engaged in the learning process through sending and receiving postcards to their overseas peers, and this form of pedagogy was developed through action research cycles. Researchers and teachers trialed various arts-based pedagogies during this process. Children's postcards (artefacts) along with semi-structured interviews, observations, and critical reflections were collected as data and analysed using emergent coding and content/interpretive/developmental analysis of drawings. By implementing an authentic task (drawing postcards and storytelling) and refining our pedagogical practices, we developed an approach that encouraged children to: (1) share their understandings in a confident, engaged, and deep manner with their peers, and (2) generate rich, cross-cultural representations, understandings, concerns, and perceptions of their local, natural environments from two different locations. The study concluded that arts-based pedagogy can support young children to further their knowledge of environmental and conservation issues, encompassing a range of different perspectives and possible solutions to their own and others' environmental concerns.

Item ID: 33113
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2327-8722
Keywords: early childhood education, environmental sustainability, action research, arts-based pedagogy
Additional Information:

Author Reesa Sorin has arranged with Common Ground for the accepted versions of 15 of her articles to be available under open access for a once off fee. Email saved to Supp Docs folder.

Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2014 01:10
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130201 Creative Arts, Media and Communication Curriculum and Pedagogy @ 40%
13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified @ 60%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930299 Teaching and Instruction not elsewhere classified @ 40%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939999 Education and Training not elsewhere classified @ 60%
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