10 SES 09 C, Growth, Sustainability and Nature in Teacher Education
This paper will address and discuss general objectives of early childhood curriculum in Denmark in relation to the everyday experiences and knowledge within the profession . The object is to study the ability to raise awareness to pedagogical and didactic qualities and developments of learning environments in preschool. Here, we will discuss these objectives in relation to nature. ‘Nature and natural phenomenons’ has formed a specific curriculum theme in Danish preschool since early childhood curriculum consisting of six themes was prescribed by law in 2004. However, it’s not obvious how preschool teachers and children perceive learning qualities within everyday experiences of nature.
Recent evaluations shows that implementation of early childhood curriculum has not produced an increased pedagogic focus on ‘nature and natural phenomenons’ in preschool (EVA 2012). A concurrent study shows that preschool teachers do not seem to organize learning processes round the theme of ‘nature and natural phenomenons’ that are reflected in pedagogic and didactic sense. Instead the study found, that preschool teachers stresses the ability of children to pursue their own interests in nature and thereby assuming nature as something concrete that implicit convey itself (Ejby-Ernst 2012).
This paper will provide a qualitative insight into the experiences and practices in preschool in relation to nature as a learning environment. The object is to produce knowledge about perceptions on nature as they emerge in everyday practices and to discuss the implications for existing and potential learning processes related to these perceptions. The theoretical backdrop of the paper relates to two types of theoretical discussions. The first theoretical discussion concerns concepts of nature as something that may or may not need to be conveyed. Perceptions of nature as something to be sensed and discovered untouched on its own right does not necessarily lead to nature mastery or knowledge of science. However, following the line of critical theory this kind of assumed relations between everyday experiences of nature and curriculum knowledge of science leads to instrumental and alienating learning processes (Marcuse 1964, Horkheimer 1985). On the other hand, modern considerations of learning schemes and didactics in preschool might hold developmental potentials for both preschool teachers and children in a educative sense that goes beyond curriculum ( Broström 2012). Though, the old warnings stressed by critical theory may still be relevant in light of modern analysis of growing distances between the production of knowledge and the everyday use of knowledge in practice (Gibbons et al.1994) that also implies the use of early childhood curriculums in preschool (Kornerup 2011). Hence, the second theoretical discussion concerns the production of knowledge and the possibilities for everyday experiences, values and practices in preschool to emerge in politics and in public debates about developmental needs in preschool (Ahrenkiel et al 2013).
Ahrenkiel, Annegrethe Schmidt, Camilla; Nielsen, Birger Steen; Sommer, Finn M.; Warring, Niels (2013): Unnoticed Professional Competence in Day Care Work.I: Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, Vol. 3, Nr. 2 Broström, S. (2012):Curriculum in preschool. Adjustment or libetation? I: Nordisk Barnehageforskning, Vol. 5, Nr. 11, Ejbye. Ernst, N. (2013): Nature Kindergartens in the Nordic Countries: Empirical Studies and Pedagogical Practice. Abenteuer, Natur und frühe Bildung: bsj-Jahrbuch 2012/2013. Becker, P., Schirp, J. & Vollmar, M. (red.). Verlag Barbara Budrich EVA (2012): læreplaner i praksis. Daginstitutionernes arbejde med pædagogiske læreplaner. Danmarks Evalueringsinstitut Gibbons, Michael, Camille Limoges, Helga Nowotny, Simon Schwartzman, Peter Scott, Martin Trow (1994).The New Production of Knowledge: The Dynamics of Science and Research in Contemporary Societies. London. Sage Horkheimer, M. (1985 /1947): Zur kritik der instrumentellen vernunft. Fischer Marcuse, H. (1964); Der eindimensionale Mensch: Studien zur Ideologie der fortgeschrittenen Industriegesellschaft. Deutschen Tachenbuch Verlag Kornerup, I. (2011): Efteruddannelse og dagtilbud under forandring. Forskerskolen i livslang læring, Roskilde Universitet.
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