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Exploring Preschoolers' Sense of Place and Early Childhood Placed-Based Education in Hawai‘i

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Item Summary

Title:Exploring Preschoolers' Sense of Place and Early Childhood Placed-Based Education in Hawai‘i
Authors:Gauci, Kathleen
Keywords:early childhood
place-based education
sense of place
sociocultural theory
preschool instruction
Date Issued:May 2016
Publisher:[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2016]
Abstract:Guided by Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory and the community of learners model, this exploratory, qualitative study was framed by the notion that preschoolers’ learning and development are affected by interactions between individuals and environments within social and cultural contexts. The purpose of the study was to gather educators’ perceptions of 3- to 5- year-old children’s sense of place and to capture how educators viewed, planned, and implemented place-based education in Hawai‘i. More specifically, the study aimed to uncover how preschool teachers defined and identified young children’s sense of place and how they addressed children’s sense of place in place-based lessons. Thirteen educators, who taught either at preschool classrooms in urban areas of O‘ahu or in a rural area of Maui, participated in the study. These educators shared their perceptions and experiences during semi-structured individual interviews, and supplemental data were collected through classroom observations, videos, and classroom artifacts. A total of 11 main themes were derived from the data using constant comparison analysis. Findings showed that comfort, security, consistency, and children’s backgrounds all influenced sense of place development in young children. Sense of place was perceived as developing in early childhood, and the findings indicated that it was multidimensional. Additionally, children’s sense of place affected their places, development, and learning. With regards to place-based education, the study indicated that teachers’ goals were to cultivate connections, collaboration, and care. Place-based lessons took place at the school as well as in the local community and environment, and the content of lessons varied. Teachers provided children with hands-on experiences, made learning exciting and fun, and instilled a sense of responsibility and commitment to community in children. Educators shaped the physical and social conditions during place-based lessons that affected children’s sense of place. Furthermore, educators’ perspectives about place-based education changed over time. Ultimately, the study found that sense of place is affected by not only the learning environment but also the people within and associated with it, and that it may be developed positively through meaningful place-based lessons.
Description:Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2016.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Educational Psychology

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