Investigating economically driven middle-class parents' knowledge and considerations of forest school
Moore, David Todd
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With the general public becoming increasingly aware of research showing the benefits of connecting with, and spending time in, nature, interest in nature-based early childhood education has grown. I seek to understand how an environmental education program, a forest school, is perceived by a purposeful sample of economically driven parents of school-aged children in Thunder Bay, Ontario. This qualitative research utilizes an ethnographic semistructured interview methodology to explore parents' knowledge, preconceptions, perceptions, and barriers to enrolling their children in forest school programming. I further examine participants' myths of nature as expressed through the presence of cultural metaphors that both reflect and influence how participants view and relate to nature. Findings highlight existing opportunities that may be leveraged to connect with these individuals about environmental education as well as where there currently exist gaps in engagement, providing insight for the development of appropriately framed communications to span this divide.
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