Young children’s ideas about environment: perspectives from three early childhood educational settings

Young children’s ideas about environment: perspectives from three early childhood educational settings

  • article in the current issue

Lauren Madden & Jennifer Liang

Pages: 1055-1071 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1236185


Many efforts have been made around the globe to advocate for and encourage environmental sustainability education (ESE). As many as 15 fields can serve as ‘currents’ on the greater field of environmental education, including environmental education and education for sustainability. We acknowledge that each is a separate and distinct field of inquiry, but choose not to limit our perspective to any one field or the other. Thus, we have elected to use the term ESE to refer to work that falls into any or all of these categories throughout this manuscript for learners of all ages. Yet, there is a dearth of information at the early childhood level, defined as toddlers through eight-year-olds. Our exploratory study focused on better describing young children’s understandings of ESE. Young children (ages three-eight) from three different suburban early childhood education settings (public school pre-kindergarten, church-based cooperative preschool, and private daycare center) participated in focus group interviews before and one week after a brief ESE learning activity. Findings revealed that children were able to describe nature in more sophisticated ways after the intervention than before, suggesting that learning in early childhood ESE is possible and fruitful.

Keywords: Early childhood, environmental education, conceptions


The philosophies, contents and pedagogies of environmental education programs in 10 Israeli elementary schools

The philosophies, contents and pedagogies of environmental education programs in 10 Israeli elementary schools

  • article in current issue

Tali Tal & Einat Peled

Pages: 1032-1053 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1153047


In this study, our aim was to understand how environmental education has been implemented in Israeli elementary schools. We selected ten schools that had implemented Education for Sustainability programs and analyzed their mission statements and curriculum documents. We observed each school’s activities and interviewed teachers. Our analysis shows ambiguity with respect to the rationales and the theoretical foundations of the programs. It also shows much didactic teaching of content, a strong focus on behavioral outcomes, especially with respect to reducing resource consumption and to increasing the levels of recycling, as well as some degree of working with the community. The unclear status of environmental education in Israel, in terms of its structure within the education system, prevents it from having sufficient resources for teacher education and curriculum development. It is suggested that this lack of clarity is the main cause of the ambiguity and for the use of the traditional pedagogies we found in our analysis.

Keywords: curriculum, education for sustainable development, environmental education, professional development, Elementary schools


Start the week with the current issue of the journal

Environmental Education Research, Volume 23, Issue 8, September 2017 is now available online on Taylor & Francis Online.


This new issue contains the following articles:

Young children’s ideas about environment: perspectives from three early childhood educational settings

Lauren Madden & Jennifer Liang

Pages: 1055-1071 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1236185


The effects of socio-scientific issue based inquiry learning on pupils’ representations of landscape

Sirpa Kärkkäinen, Tuula Keinonen, Jari Kukkonen, Seija Juntunen & Ilkka Ratinen

Pages: 1072-1087 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1177711


Greek primary school children’s representations of the urban environment as seen through their drawings

Dimitrios Stokas, Elena Strezou, George Malandrakis & Penelope Papadopoulou

Pages: 1088-1114 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1219316


Compelling evidence: an influence on middle school students’ accounts that may impact decision-making about socioscientific issues

Katherine Emery, Danielle Harlow, Ali Whitmer & Steven Gaines

Pages: 1115-1129 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1225673


An interdisciplinary approach to environmental and sustainability education: developing geography students’ understandings of sustainable development using poetry

Nicola Walshe

Pages: 1130-1149 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1221887


Young primary students making sense of text and illustrations about how refuse can become soil

Lisbeth Åberg-Bengtsson, Dennis Beach & Agneta Ljung-Djärf

Pages: 1150-1168 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2015.1118750


Urban park design + love for nature: Interventions for visitor experiences and social networking

Eli Typhina

Pages: 1169-1181 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1214863


Neoliberal and disciplinary environmentality and ‘sustainable seafood’ consumption: storying environmentally responsible action

Teresa Lloro-Bidart

Pages: 1182-1199 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2015.1105198


The impact of on-site educational outreach on recreational users’ perceptions of aquatic invasive species and their management

Ryan L. Sharp, Lisa B. Cleckner & Sarah DePillo

Pages: 1200-1210 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1174983

An ESD pathway to quality education in the Cyprus primary education context

An ESD pathway to quality education in the Cyprus primary education context

  • article in current issue

Chrysanthi Kadji-Beltran, Nicoletta Christodoulou, Aravella Zachariou, Petra Lindemann-Matthies, Susan Barker & Costas Kadis

Pages: 1015-1031 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1249459


This research is based on the rationale that the well-defined framework of education for sustainable development (ESD), its connection with real life and its specific integration in the educational policies and curricula can help to enhance quality education (QE) in a meaningful and identifiable way. In a first step, the common ground of ESD and QE was explored in different areas: common dimensions, future-oriented objectives, commonly targeted skills, value orientation, teaching and learning approaches. In a second step, this information was taken as a base to investigate how well twelve lesson units for primary school reflect the common ground of ESD and QE. The units were specifically developed for this research, in which ESD experienced teachers (mentors) supported inexperienced ones (mentees). Results indicate that ESD can reinforce QE, but that teachers need support with regard to the political and cultural dimensions of SD issues, collaborations with local communities and assessments.

Keywords: Education for sustainable development, quality education, teacher education


Botany and environmental education in elementary school in Brazil: articulating knowledge, values, and procedures

Botany and environmental education in elementary school in Brazil: articulating knowledge, values, and procedures

  • New EER Article Alert

Jerônimo de Oliveira Loureiro & Rossano André Dal-Farra

Pages: 1-14 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2017.1343280


The increasing urbanization and alienation from nature reduce children’s opportunities to interact with plants and challenge teachers to devise educational practices that contribute to learning botany. This study presents the results of activities developed in a Brazilian school through explorations, drawings, dried and pressed specimens, and semi-structured interviews. The data were evaluated using mixed methods analysis. Leaves were the structure that was most frequently drawn by 1st- and 2nd-year students, followed by stems. Among students in their 3rd, 4th, and 5th years, more emphasis was on flowers and their detailed morphological structures. The 1st- and 2nd-year students included non-living elements and the surrounding environment in their drawings, whereas the older students focused on the plant itself. These particularities point to methods of teaching botany in context and link students’ specific knowledge to values and practices that contribute to an environmental education that aims to minimize the utilitarian view of nature and move towards a view of human beings as integrated and interdependent with other living and non-living elements.

Keywords: Elementary education, botany, herbarium, science education, environmental education


A framework for pollination systems thinking and conservation

A framework for pollination systems thinking and conservation

  • New EER Article Alert

Doug Golick, Jenny Dauer, Louise Lynch & Erin Ingram

Pages: 1-16 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2017.1349878


We conducted interviews with 16 postsecondary students at a large public university on pollination systems knowledge. A semi-structured interview protocol was developed with open-ended prompts to elicit student explanations of pollination systems. Congruent themes were developed through coding of the interview transcripts into low, medium, and high sophistication of responses. From this, we developed a framework of pollination knowledge informed by systems thinking models that describe structures of plants and pollinators, conservation behaviors, and the function of pollination systems. The framework described can be used to explain students’ understanding of pollination systems and identify strengths and gaps in this knowledge. We propose this framework may also be used as the basis for instrument development evaluating the impacts of educational programming designed to improve students’ pollination knowledge.

Keywords: Pollination, systems thinking, knowledge framework, undergraduate conservation education, pollinator knowledge


ESD implementation at the school organisation level, part 2 – investigating the transformative perspective in school leaders’ quality strategies at ESD schools

ESD implementation at the school organisation level, part 2 – investigating the transformative perspective in school leaders’ quality strategies at ESD schools

  • article in current issue

Anna Mogren & Niklas Gericke

Pages: 993-1014 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1226266


Previous research has suggested that adopting a transformative school organisation perspective when implementing ESD may be more productive than the previously recommended transmissive perspectives, but it is not clear how transformative perspectives could be introduced. To address this issue, we conducted an empirical mixed methods study of existing practices in 10 highly ESD-active upper secondary schools in Sweden. The schools’ leaders, who were responsible for implementing ESD, were interviewed to obtain information on the quality criteria they used to guide their work. The arguments used by the leaders to justify their criteria were analysed and categorised based on their relationships with the transmissive and transformative quality strategies. Both school organisation perspectives were found to co-exist within the schools. A detailed analysis of schools where the transformative perspective was dominant revealed three distinct quality strategies, one of which was found to embody a strong focus on a transformative approach. This specific quality strategy is discussed and suggested as a way for interested schools to implement ESD in a more transformative way at the school organisation level.

Keywords: Implementation of education for sustainable development, school leadership, school organisation, transformative education, quality criteria