ERIC Number: ED510793
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jul-9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 11
The World Is Our Big Backyard!
Wenze, Gloria T.; Fryer, Christine
Sustainability is a contemporary term that calls attention to climate change and dwindling natural resources. Concerned about the urgency of sustainability and the long-range impact that non-sustainable efforts could have on the environment, and convinced that sustainable concepts could be taught to young children, the authors introduced an integrated thematic unit on "that big science word: Sustainability" to primary teachers and students. The teachers concurred with the need for sustainability education for young children, but were concerned whether such a unit would meet the state academic standards and prepare the children for the required standardized assessments. With an interdisciplinary child-centered, experiential learning approach, the students came to not only understand sustainability concepts but also learned ways to incorporate them into their daily behaviors. Results of the unit showed the children's increased interest in and awareness of their environment; increased observational skills; increased literacy skills via expressive and social skills; and, an expanded knowledge-base which aided in standardized testing and retention of concepts. The teachers gained valuable professional development in how to integrate sustainability concepts into the ongoing early childhood/primary curriculum, yet meet the rigor of academic standards and standardized testing.
Descriptors: Standardized Tests, Academic Standards, Young Children, Experiential Learning, Climate, Literacy, Sustainable Development, Natural Resources, Conservation (Environment), Elementary Schools, Environmental Education, Interdisciplinary Approach, Consciousness Raising, Observation, Interpersonal Competence, Knowledge Level, Journal Writing
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 2; Kindergarten
Authoring Institution: N/A