Building on our natural curiosities

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Campbell, Wendy
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 2004
The traditional view of teaching environmental education has been for students to learn about the environment whereas the current trend is to provide learning opportunities that are experiential and in the environment. This research project is to explore the natural curiosities and attitudes that emerge from children when they are immersed in rich learning experiences that are experiential and cause children to pause, reflect, and ask questions, and that occur in an outdoor classroom. According to the 1996 Alberta Program of Studies for Elementary Science "children have a natural curiosity about their surroundings - a desire to explore and investigate, see inside things, find out how things work and find answers to their questions" (p. A.l). By participating in a one week outdoor classroom situated in a natural river setting and a prairie foothills conservation area, students were given the opportunity to experience first-hand the richness and beauty of the natural environment. Through reflective journaling and a set of survey questions students shared their thoughts and feelings about the natural environment. When given the opportunity to explore, discover, and observe the world around them, the students asked wondrous questions, expressed delight, and identified serious issues of environmental concern. This small group of students built upon, broadened and enhanced their understanding of the world around them. They demonstrated a strong sense of caring about the environment and believed that they could make a difference in preserving the natural habitat for themselves and others. As cited in Pan-Canadian Framework (Council of Ministries, 1996, p. 11), Unesco states "there can be no greater contribution or more essential element to long-term environmental strategies leading to sustainable development that respects the environment.. .than the education of future generations in matters relating to the environment."
ix, 67 leaves ; 29 cm. --
Active learning -- Research , Experiential learning -- Research , Curiosity in children -- Research