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Title: Drawn to nature: Young children learning about nature through drawing
Contributor(s): Heckrath, Anne Pamela (author); Brooks, Margaret  (supervisor); McCrea, Nadine (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2014
Copyright Date: 2013
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: Today children in the developed world have less experience of the natural environment than any previous generation, due to a range of environmental and social factors that have changed how children live their lives. Many observers are concerned that children are missing out on the benefits of engaging with nature, which impacts on physical and psychological health, play and development, and the possible cultivation of future environmentalists. Reconnecting children with nature has become a focus for many people in the developed world. This visual ethnographic study had a two-fold purpose: to engage a group of young children, aged 3 to 5 years, in studying nature in their immediate environment of the preschool playspace, and to document how they made meaning from their observations and ideas using drawing. As background to the study I explored the reasons for the erosion of children's contact with the natural world. I also examined the changes in theories of children's drawing development from stage theory to repertoires, intentionality, multi-modality and meaning making. My study documented the children engaging in dialogue and drawing subsequent to their explorations of the outdoor playspace. I focused on how the children used drawing to document, communicate, explore and experiment with their understandings of the natural world. The children's learning was analysed within a Vygotskian social constructionist framework, as well as in the light of other contemporary theorists. I demonstrated that drawing acted as a mediator between perceptions and thought, and functioned as a tool for learning (Vygotsky, 1962).
Publication Type: Thesis Masters Research
Field of Research Codes: 130102 Early Childhood Education (excl Maori)
Rights Statement: Copyright 2013 - Anne Pamela Heckrath
HERDC Category Description: T1 Thesis - Masters Degree by Research
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