Forming preschoolers' environmental attitude : lasting effects of early childhood environmental education
Robertson, James S.
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Since 1987, the Kerry Wood Nature Centre has run a nature preschool for three-five old children. This study shows the affect it had on the environmental attitudes of former participants, who were 10-12 years old at the time of this study. Interviews and questionnaires with former participants, their families, and a control group investigated: (1) their current environmental attitude and behaviours; and (2) from whence these attitudes and behaviours arose. Past participants had a significantly greater connectedness-to-nature score than their peers did, even several years after leaving the program. The Nature Nursery program, along with other factors, made a measurable and persistent change in the attitude of these children. "Opportunity" in terms of location, parenting, companionship, and time emerged as being important in determining attitude. Children and parents overwhelmingly reported better feelings and behaviour after playing outside. Recommendations to improve early childhood environmental education programs are included.
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