Learning about and taking action for the environment: experiences of children and teachers who participated in a preschool water education program
Miller, MG, Davis, JM, Boyd, W & Danby, S 2014, 'Learning about and taking action for the environment: experiences of children and teachers who participated in a preschool water education program', Children, Youth and Environments, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 43-57.
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Water education and conservation programs have grown exponentially in Australian primary and secondary schools and, although early childhood services have been slower to respond to the challenges of sustainability, they are catching up fast. One early program targeted at preschools was the Water Aware Centre Program in northern New South Wales developed by the local water supply authority. This paper reports on a qualitative study of children's and teachers' experiences of the program in three preschools. The study's aim was to identify program attributes and pedagogies that supported learning and action taking for water conservation, and to investigate if and how the program influenced children's and teachers' practices. Data were collected through an interview with the program designer, conversations with child participants of the program, and a qualitative survey with early childhood staff. A three-step thematic analysis was conducted on the children's and teachers' data. Findings revealed that the program expanded children and teachers' ideas about water conservation and increased their water conservation practices. The children were found to influence the water conservation practices of the adults around them, thus changing practices at school and at home.