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Den-making as an opportunity for learning natural science and progress in all developmental areas of a preschool child

Nika Dolinar (2016) Den-making as an opportunity for learning natural science and progress in all developmental areas of a preschool child. Diploma thesis.

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    The natural environment with its diversity and variety attracts children to try and play freely, following their internal impulses. It offers them the wealth of sense experiences with which the children can learn about the world surrounding them. The natural materials enable them to use them in different dimensions. Frequent positive experiences with the natural environment and materials, which the environment offers to us, are the basis of the environmental education and child’s holistic development. In my diploma thesis I explored the possibilities of learning about the natural sciences and development on the cognitive, social-emotional, linguistic and motoric area the preschool children have when building forest dens from the natural materials. I wondered what kind of natural materials and in what ways the children most commonly handle them when building the dens. I explored whether the children learn about the group collaboration while building the forest dens. I was establishing the differences between the sexes which can be noticed in building the forest dens and how the children integrate the area of their everyday life in the construction. I performed eight observations of building the forest dens from natural materials and I included fifteen children, aged between two and seven years. My findings were established through observation and analyses of camera recordings; I attached the cameras on the children’s heads and they automatically taped the picture and sound from the child’s point of view. I documented the results of the observation and processed them qualitatively and quantitatively. I established that the forest environment and building the forest dens positively stimulate the child’s development on different areas of activities. The children had some difficulties in building the dens by themselves, they needed their peers to help them. By doing so the children developed empathy and collaboration. They were faced with solving real problems and finding logical solutions. The natural materials gave them numerous dimensions of how to use them for different purposes and also positive stimuli which attracted the children to find the materials. By doing so the child’s motoric development, containing the child’s basic needs of playing and moving, was encouraged. At the same time building the dens offers the children numerous mind challenges and combining various activities with different curricular contents. My findings confirm the findings of numerous previous researches about the positive impact playing and learning in natural environment have on the child’s integral development. Building forest dens does not bring the children only the immediate satisfaction in playing and experiencing the natural environment with all their senses but the child-based way of doing so enables them to gain lasting knowledge, social skills, developing motoric skills and developing a positive relationship towards nature – the basis for this is built in early childhood. I wish that the results of this thesis would encourage the pre-school teachers to include these kinds of activities in their curriculum more often.

    Item Type: Thesis (Diploma thesis)
    Keywords: outdoor play and learning, den-making, early science, preschool child, natural materials and objects, holistic development
    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=11237449)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 3931
    Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2016 10:10
    Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 10:10
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/3931

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