Experiences of early childhood educators in a nature-based, early learning program: a case study
SubjectConnecting children to nature
Early childhood educators
Pre-school nature-based program
MetadataShow full item record
Across Canada, an interest in connecting people with nature is growing, and much of this interest is focussed on young children. This study, which explores the experiences of two early childhood educators as they piloted a preschool nature-based program in Northern Ontario, examines factors that educators might find helpful in implementing a nature-based early learning program. It specifically focuses on two main areas: a) the impact of this piloting experience on the educators' beliefs about education and their own roles as educators, and b) the educators' experiences of the benefits and challenges of nature-based programming as encountered during this trial period. A case study approach was used, and data was collected through observations, interviews, and journals. The findings focus on three main themes: a) connecting with nature, b) supporting learning in nature-based programs, and c) examining benefits and overcoming barriers. This study adds to the limited body of Canadian research in this area. Although the size of the study is small, and therefore data should not be used to make broad generalizations, it nonetheless can be used as a prompt for other early childhood educators to reflect on their practices and could act as a springboard for programs that would like to explore and implement nature-based programs for young children in their communities.