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Learning about snails in the group of children aged 3 to 4 years

Petra Petan (2017) Learning about snails in the group of children aged 3 to 4 years. Diploma thesis.

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    Children start discovering, experiencing and learning about their environment at the same time as they start developing their own cognitive abilities and personality. Environment-based activities lead to the formation of cognitive operations as well as formation of basic concepts, i.e. time and space. Movement and forces, object and matter, the concept of being, all that leads to the discovery of the relations between objects and the relations between beings and the environment they live in. In regard to nature, the focus is on gaining experience with beings and natural phenomena, as well as on the eagerness to discover and explore new findings in their surroundings. In nature, children learn about animals, plants, objects and phenomena all around, but at the same time they learn and discover their own reactions to different beings and the environment that each being inhabits. If children are to be appropriately acquainted with animals and the environment, they should be included in the life of animals, taught about it and informed about their way of living in nature. This thesis presents the 3- to 4-year-olds’ perception of snails. At the same time, it is established how much knowledge they gain during the activity itself and whether it has any influence on the children's opinion on snails and snails’ natural development. Children in the experimental group were lead through the project of discovering snails, where they were actively learning about snails and their key features as well as experiencing them through play. The activities were performed with a group of 17 children aged 3–4. The project consisted of 8 days of activities, including keeping snails, observing them, discovering how they feel, experiencing them, mimicking their movement, learning about their constitution and living environment, classifying snail shells as well as learning about them and different snail species. The answers from the survey in the experimental group before and after these activities were compared to the answers from the control group, consisting of only 15 children but within the same age group. It was thus established whether the project of learning about snails affects the child’s perception of the animal and their knowledge about it. The survey results were analyzed quantitatively and presented via charts and spreadsheets. Those children who were included in the activities were answering more successfully than the children from the control group. They were more familiar with the physical constitution of snails, they knew a greater number of snail species, their perception of snails was more positive, too, as they expressed less fear and fewer stereotypes. The results show that the active learning process offers numerous possibilities for gaining experience with animals and sprouting enthusiasm for exploring and discovering. In regard to science, this is a stimulating learning environment. By including children in various activities where they can experience and learn about nature in all its diversity, complexity and constant changes, we can produce a positive effect on the child’s perception of animals, which is often stereotypically negative. The results of this paper could encourage preschool teachers to overcome their own fearfulness, to create such a stimulating learning environment for the children as we did and to implement it into their work more often.

    Item Type: Thesis (Diploma thesis)
    Keywords: preschool children, active learning, nature, snail, environment
    Number of Pages: 78
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    doc. dr. Marjanca KosMentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=11717705)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 4698
    Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 14:20
    Last Modified: 20 Sep 2017 14:20
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/4698

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