Toward a model for early childhood environmental education: Foregrounding, developing, and connecting knowledge through play-based learning

  • Cutter-Mackenzie A
  • Edwards S
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Environmental education represents a growing area of interest in early childhood education, espe-cially since the inclusion of environmental principles and practices in the Australian Early Years Learning Framework. Traditionally, these two fields of education have been characterized by diverse pedagogical emphases. This article considers how teachers in particular see different types of ped-agogical play, such as open-ended play, modeled play, and purposefully framed play as providing opportunities for young children and teachers to develop knowledge through experiences about en-vironmental education in early childhood settings. As a result of findings based on our qualitative research study involving early childhood teachers and children, an emerging model for thinking about environmental education in early childhood is proposed as a way of integrating these pedagogical emphases traditionally associated with environmental and early childhood education. Avenues for future research associated with this model are also identified.

Author-supplied keywords

  • early childhood environmental education
  • knowledge
  • play-based learning
  • teachers
  • teaching

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  • Amy Cutter-Mackenzie

  • Susan Edwards

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