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The influence of the forest pedagogy on the development of environmental ethics in preschool children

Matic Juvan (2013) The influence of the forest pedagogy on the development of environmental ethics in preschool children. Diploma thesis.

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    We live in the time of great media influence and we often found ourselves hearing warnings about nature conservation. Most people think that nature conservation means only separate collection of waste and waste recycling. Even though this is commendable, it does not help much to bring nature back to its former beauty in its original state. Many authors, whose thoughts will be presented in this diploma thesis, say that nature conservation consists of many wide specters of actions. Unfortunately, the world today is used to deal with aftereffect consequences only, while causes to problems are mistakenly left aside. In this diploma thesis, entitled The Influence of the Forest Pedagogy on the Development of Environmental Ethics in Preschool Children, I mostly wrote about nature conservation and environmental ethics. The important part of this diploma thesis also consists of environmental education idea and forest kindergartens principle, that is mostly known for its unique way of spending time in nature. Forest pedagogy was also explained as a strong connection between environmental ethics and nature kindergarten. The main purpose of this diploma thesis was to enlighten the importance of nature conservation through "play and learn principle". I chose three important dilemmas to research them in the logic of this main purpose. In the timeline of one month of play in nature with preschool children, I tried to research next assumptions: I wanted to find out which playground suits preschool children better. Was it the kindergarten playroom, kindergarten outside playground, or some natural space? Knowing that this question was asked before nature activities and after them, I expected some variations between the first and second answers. I wanted to find out what children think about nature protection and what their ideas for more productive and successful nature conservation were. I also wanted to find out if forest pedagogy does indeed influence children to accept nature as part of themselves and if the influence is strong enough for children to become nature protectors. For more practical and explicit experiences, I offered children large, unstructured natural space. It is a space where abundance of sensory perception and freedom with opportunity to take risks can occur. Autonomy and creative play have been also observed in the process. Based on interviews and observations, I soon came to the conclusion that a child would always chose the opportunity that represents challenge and a more complex experience. After experienced playing in the natural places, most of the children chose nature as the most suitable place for playing. Children knew that conservation of natural spaces is important. They also proposed many suggestions for more efficient natural conservation. Some of those suggestions are really suitable for applying in our world. It would be interesting to see results of such actions. When only some of the principles of the forest pedagogy were applied in the way of education that was commonly known to children, first reactions were soon observed. It was soon strongly understandable that in one month of natural experiences, children developed even more powerful connection with nature. It is a true fact that nature has, as the pioneer of nature conservations Rachel Carson said, gifts for everybody if only he or she is willing to accept them. In this one month of natural play, the children experienced many positive moments which were all in connection with nature and natural spaces. Mine major guidance on this path was to give the children the opportunity to fully accept nature into their hearts and to, consequently, show full respectful relationship with it, without adult educator to suggest children this action. In one month, the group of preschool children that I guided showed remarkable results. Not only that they helped in removing the process of aftereffect consequences as a result of unacceptable relationship to nature (collecting waste and recycling them, efficient use of electricity …) but they also took the first steps towards taking care of the reason for all these consequences, as no person, that consider nature as part of himself or herself, will destroy it, pollute it, or exploit it. And that was the most important thought I used when I were conducting researches for the aimed dilemmas.

    Item Type: Thesis (Diploma thesis)
    Keywords: environmental ethics, nature conservation, forest pedagogy, forest kindergarten, preschool child, outdoor play
    Number of Pages: 63
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    viš. pred. dr. Marjanca KosMentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=9768521)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 1736
    Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2013 08:06
    Last Modified: 26 Sep 2013 08:06
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/1736

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