The child in nature

Fletcher, R 2006, The child in nature, Masters by Research, Education, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title The child in nature
Author(s) Fletcher, R
Year 2006
Abstract There is little research on the young child's experience of the natural environment. Due to the increase in urbanisation, indoor recreation and indoor schooling many young children have become isolated from the natural environment. A love for nature and a sense of wonder in nature is being lost in the hurried childhood. This loss of access to nature impacts on the child's health and wellbeing, sense of connection and environmental literacy.

This research study explores how Melbourne preschool children experience and use nature through the environments provided to them in the preschool program. The main environment is naturally the preschool play yard; however, as excursions also form part of the curriculum, the child's visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Ian Potter Foundation Children's Garden forms part of this experience.

Six case studies of Melburnian preschool children have been developed as a means to capture and communicate the interactions of individual children. Each of the six case studies present a child or pair of children 'in the moment,' as a snap shot of ecological learning and play behaviour and are presented as six stories, which allow the child's individual character and unique experience of nature to be expressed. Issues and behaviours evident in the children's interactions are then discussed through a framework of the seven ways of interacting in nature, which emerges from the demonstrations of these children.

This information was collected using research techniques in observation; structured observations using time sampling and behaviour mapping; participating in conversations with children and collecting anecdotal observations and children's artwork. The case studies provide insight into childhood interactions with the natural environment and the levels of engagement experienced by children, with nature. The six stories, alongside topical literature, form the basis for deep discussion on the observed ways of interacting with nature.
Degree Masters by Research
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Education
Keyword(s) Environmental education
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Created: Mon, 29 Nov 2010, 16:09:00 EST by Catalyst Administrator
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