Children's agency and participation in a water awareness program in early childhood centres in Australia
Boyd, W 2011, 'Children's agency and participation in a water awareness program in early childhood centres in Australia', paper presented to Explore, experience, educate: the 6th World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC), Brisbane, Qld., 19-23 July.
This paper reports on an evaluation of this program, which was a qualitative study that explored the children’s learning and action that stemmed from children, parents and teachers engagement in the program. Data consisted of water audits and reports developed for each of the 17 participating centres, as well as from conversations with children, and interviews and surveys conducted with staff and parents at three of the centres. The results showed that, as well learning new knowledge about water conversation, the children, staff, and parents also changed their attitudes to water conservation and, importantly, adopted water conservation actions and strategies. Some centres undertook large-scale redevelopments of centre grounds, while others made substantive efforts to purchase and install water-saving devices. The study found that children influenced the adults around them in relation to improving their water conservation practices. Teachers and parents reported that they felt compelled to change their own water use habits because of the children’s advocacy for water-conserving alternatives.