The success of Environmental Education (EE) is based on how the curriculum helps students develop the “right” relationship with the environment. EE scholars reveal that environmental problems arise not because EE approaches have failed but because people connect with the environment differently. Hence, educators should understand students’ views of the environment before formulating environmental science lessons.
Children should be taught to view themselves as part of the environment at the early childhood stage because, during these years, they develop their basic values, attitudes, and habits. However, young children do not always have the words to describe what they see, think, or feel. Thus, drawings and interviews were used to elicit children’s environmental concepts. Thirty-five drawings and transcribed interviews of kindergarten pupils from a public school class in Calauan, an agro-industrial municipality south of Manila experiencing some environmental problems, were analyzed.
Results show that the children see the “environment” as an area composed of more natural elements than built or human elements. Common in the drawings is the presence of weather elements. Only less than half have humans in their drawings, indicating that they see humans as separate from the environment. Through the drawings and interviews, it was found that the role of past experiences is vital in children’s conceptions of the environment. Moreover, some drawings have evidence of misconceptions of their environment, specifically the presence of day time and night time elements in one drawing and the existence of “foreign” fruit in the locality.
Geri Mae Tolentino, Southern Luzon State University, Philippines
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Geri Mae Tolentino