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ERIC Number: EJ1101633
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1350-4622
Can Playscapes Promote Early Childhood Inquiry towards Environmentally Responsible Behaviors? An Exploratory Study
Wight, R. Alan; Kloos, Heidi; Maltbie, Catherine V.; Carr, Victoria W.
Environmental Education Research, v22 n4 p518-537 2016
This paper investigates young children's exploratory play and inquiry on playscapes: playgrounds specifically designed to connect children with natural environments. Our theoretical framework posits that playscapes combine the benefits of nature and play to promote informal science exploration of natural materials. This, in turn, is expected to lead to environmental science literacy, which in turn is likely to strengthen a child's ecological identity and lead to environmentally responsible behaviors (ERBs). The following questions are of specific interest: to what extent do children go beyond observations and explorations and use science-specific representations and language during their play on playscapes? What locations on the playscape afford science-specific activities? And how do these activities relate to their play on the playscape? In an attempt to answer these questions, we describe data obtained from a video analysis of preschoolers visiting a playscape. As a means of initial comparison, we also analyzed data obtained from a traditional playground. We examine the intersection of children's play and inquiry within specific areas of interest at the two sites. The two sites vary in many dimensions, including size, familiarity, and access to natural materials. Nevertheless, our data provide initial support for our hypothesis that natural environments promote explorations and inquiry, fostering ERBs.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio (Cincinnati)
Grant or Contract Numbers: 114647