Children's Understandings of Environmental and Sustainability-related Issues in Kindergartens in Rogaland, Norway, and Queensland, Australia
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionSageidet, B.M., Christensen, M., Davis, J.M. (2019) International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 14 (4), 191-205.
Abstract: This study compared the understandings of environmental and sustainability-related issues of 4- 5-year-old children in kindergartens in Rogaland, Norway, with understandings of similarly-aged peers in kindergartens in Queensland, Australia. Twenty structured conversations with children were undertaken in each country. A qualitative content analysis of these conversations with regard to their contexts elucidated how children experience everyday activities related to environment and sustainability and what they think about adult attitudes and behaviors in relation to these topics. Most of the children in both countries enjoyed being outside in nature; however, they had limited understandings of sustainability-related terms. The Norwegian children seemed to have more frequent and diverse opportunities to explore and to get in touch with nature, while some Australian children had quite sophisticated ideas about sustainability-related relationships and interconnections. Positive adult attitudes and behaviours combined with inquiry-based and language stimulating learning experiences, situated in appropriate social and outdoor contexts, offer potential to promote children’s understandings of sustainability.