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ERIC Number: EJ1002190
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 45
ISSN: ISSN-1090-1027
Beyond the Walls: Conceptualizing Natural Environments as "Third Educators"
Torquati, Julia; Ernst, Julie A.
Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, v34 n2 p191-208 2013
This research examined preservice early childhood educators' perceptions of outdoor settings and their intentions to use outdoor settings in their teaching practice. Students enrolled in an early childhood education program (n = 110) at a university in the Great Lakes region completed surveys that assessed perceptions of natural settings, intentions to use natural settings in future teaching, knowledge of the benefits of nature for children, and personal nature relatedness. Participants reported relatively high intentions to use natural settings in future teaching, as well as knowledge of the benefits of nature for children, but moderate levels of personal nature relatedness. Participants were more likely to select "maintained" settings such as parks for educational purposes, and more "natural" settings, especially those with water, for personal purposes. Knowledge of the benefits of nature experiences, the perceived difficulty in using natural settings, and personal levels of nature relatedness each significantly predicted intention to use natural settings in future teaching. We recommend that teacher preparation programs provide: opportunities for students to observe and/or interact with children as they engage in unstructured play in natural environments; opportunities to engage in both structured and unstructured learning experiences in natural environments; and preparing students to provide appropriate supervision in natural environments. (Contains 6 tables.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Minnesota