Academic journal article Review of European Studies

Planning an Environmental Education Project for Kindergarten under the Theme of "The Forest"

Academic journal article Review of European Studies

Planning an Environmental Education Project for Kindergarten under the Theme of "The Forest"

Article excerpt


The primary aim of the Environmental Education since its initial appearance and throughout the previous decades has been the formation of ecological awareness from early ages. So far, most of the International Conferences have been highlighting the fact that Environmental Education should be introduced since preschool age. The Project Method constitutes a much different educational approach in comparison with the traditional educational methods, which have been implemented throughout the previous years. It is mainly characterized by its student-centered nature, the more active role attributed to the person undergoing education and, among others, the mutual collaboration between the children and the educator so as for the desired outcome to be achieved. The aim of this article is to propose a project for pupils of preschool age under the theme of "The Forest". All its successive stages (from the introductory to the presentation-announcement stage) are analyzed by means of activities appropriate for children of preschool age and therefore, can easily and readily be realized by them.

Keywords: Environmental education, Project method, Forest, Kindergarten

1. Introduction

As it is commonly accepted, Environmental Education was officially established in the 70's by the significant International Conferences held in Nevada (1970), Stockholm (1972), Belgrade (1975) and Tbilisi (1977). These Conferences laid the foundations and defined the objectives, the targets and the methodology framing Environmental Education on an international level (Palmer, 1998 and Dimitriou, 2009). The First Intergovernmental Conference on Environmental Education, which took place in Tbilisi in 1977, explicitly states that its implementation should be commencing from preschool age and continuing throughout the school years, let alone extending to an out-of-school level (Palmer, 1998).

Environmental Education is not a one-dimensional procedure as is the case of traditional education in which the educational asset is offered only by means of the "frontal" teaching. On the contrary, it possesses a three-dimensional character as it is internationally accepted (Palmer, 1998).

More specifically, Environmental Education is divided into three forms:

a. Environmental Education about the environment

b. Environmental Education in or from the environment

c. Environmental Education for the environment

This distinction is consistent both with the psychological data and more specifically the correspondence with the cognitive, emotional and ethical aspect of human personality and the pedagogical data since it accords with Bloom's tripartite taxonomy of the educational objectives into a cognitive, emotional and psychokinetic area (Skanavis, 2004). The first form of Environmental Education (which correlates with the cognitive hypostasis of the personality) attempts to transfer knowledge through teaching subjects which refer to the Environment on scientific fields related not only to Natural Sciences, e.g. Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geology, but also to Social Sciences and Humanities, e.g. Economics and History. Additionally, the last one is based on the principle that environment is composed by the natural and the anthropogenic environment (Tsekos and Matthopoulos, 2009). The second form of Environmental Education appears through activities realized in the environment as such, where the participants can experience it, its value and its problems directly and personally by assuming activities within it. Last but not least, the third form is about our moral attitude towards the environment and it deals with shaping ecological values, attitudes and behaviors.

The interdisciplinary approach of knowledge is in action in the Greek Kindergarten system, and educational method that renders the implementation of "Projects" possible. The Integrated Thematic Curriculum addressed for Kindergarten consists of the following five cognitive subjects, which are not considered as discernible: a) Child and Language, b) Child and Mathematics, c) Child and Environment, d) Child and Creativity - Representation (Artistic Expression etc) and e) Child and Informatics. …

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