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Learning and Teaching Naturally: An Assessment of Nature Education Workshops in a University Introduction to Early Childhood Education Course

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Abstract:

New forms of nature education for young children require new forms of nature education for their teachers. This presentation will focus on work at University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL) to foster a more intentional and deliberate inclusion of nature education in the preservice early childhood education program.

The literature is growing on the importance of nature and environmental education for young children while less information exists on preparing tomorrow’s teachers for this new emphasis. In response, UNL instructors are working to infuse knowledge and skills related to nature education throughout the students’ program of study. This presentation will focus on work in the introductory course, CYAF 170, Introduction to Early Care and Education. For two years (Fall 2006 and Fall 2007), students enrolled in this course in the Child, Youth and Family Studies department have received information on the importance of nature education and have participated in hands-on nature education workshops.

Student perceptions of individual skill levels were assessed and documented each year both in class and in the field. Students completed surveys pre- and post- workshop. Students also completed detailed reaction papers about the experience. Photographic and videotaped images were also captured throughout the workshops.

Analysis of results from the two nature workshops show that students self-reported limited nature education skills before the workshop. Similarly, students reported they did not feel they could provide young children with meaningful nature experiences before the workshop. Both years, students showed a positive change in their perception of skill and ability post workshop. Students' reflection papers often supplemented these findings, and providing qualitative evidence in the students own words about changes in their knowledge and perceptions of competence in providing meaningful experiences in and about nature for young children.
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Association:
Name: North American Association For Environmental Education
URL:
http://naaee.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p245366_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Hill-Menson, Toni. "Learning and Teaching Naturally: An Assessment of Nature Education Workshops in a University Introduction to Early Childhood Education Course" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the North American Association For Environmental Education, Century II Convention Center, Wichita, Kansas, <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p245366_index.html>

APA Citation:

Hill-Menson, T. "Learning and Teaching Naturally: An Assessment of Nature Education Workshops in a University Introduction to Early Childhood Education Course" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the North American Association For Environmental Education, Century II Convention Center, Wichita, Kansas <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p245366_index.html

Publication Type: Presentation
Abstract: New forms of nature education for young children require new forms of nature education for their teachers. This presentation will focus on work at University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL) to foster a more intentional and deliberate inclusion of nature education in the preservice early childhood education program.

The literature is growing on the importance of nature and environmental education for young children while less information exists on preparing tomorrow’s teachers for this new emphasis. In response, UNL instructors are working to infuse knowledge and skills related to nature education throughout the students’ program of study. This presentation will focus on work in the introductory course, CYAF 170, Introduction to Early Care and Education. For two years (Fall 2006 and Fall 2007), students enrolled in this course in the Child, Youth and Family Studies department have received information on the importance of nature education and have participated in hands-on nature education workshops.

Student perceptions of individual skill levels were assessed and documented each year both in class and in the field. Students completed surveys pre- and post- workshop. Students also completed detailed reaction papers about the experience. Photographic and videotaped images were also captured throughout the workshops.

Analysis of results from the two nature workshops show that students self-reported limited nature education skills before the workshop. Similarly, students reported they did not feel they could provide young children with meaningful nature experiences before the workshop. Both years, students showed a positive change in their perception of skill and ability post workshop. Students' reflection papers often supplemented these findings, and providing qualitative evidence in the students own words about changes in their knowledge and perceptions of competence in providing meaningful experiences in and about nature for young children.


Similar Titles:
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