Parent(ing) ChildhoodNature: perceptions with/as nature

Simone Miranda Blom, Southern Cross University

Document Type Thesis

This thesis will be unavailable in ePublications from March 2018. The digital version is available via the Southern Cross University Library catalogue

Abstract

This thesis explores the question ‘To what extent do significant life experiences mediate parent(ing) with/as nature?’ This was approached by first identifying how I, as a parent, conceptualise nature and secondly, how my conceptualisation influences my parenting choices. An autoethnographic methodology was adopted to investigate the question introspectively drawing on Significant Life Experiences to postulate meaning to my choices and life path.

In foregrounding the study, environmental education literature is reviewed under the categories of Childhood, Nature as a Concept, ChildhoodNature and Parent(ing) ChildhoodNature. This review provides a platform for understanding the current knowledge in the field and identifying areas requiring further research. This study is underpinned by the theoretical perspectives of the sociology of childhood, social ecology and posthumanism. The theoretical framework is based on these perspectives and creates a lens to observe the findings and interpret their meaning.

The data collection and analysis identifies two overarching concepts in understanding my conceptualisation of nature: understanding-self, and nature observations and perceptions. Furthermore, the main concepts found to influence my parenting choices are: time, food and my parenting approach. The data are presented through a conceptual model proposing that the relationship that I have with nature is reflected in the relationship that I have with myself, and the relationship I have with my daughter.

The significance of these findings is that they provide an in-depth, longitudinal, intimate account of how Significant Life Experiences influence life paths and choices. Moreover, they provide a way of rethinking old paradigms about the perceived barriers to parenting with/as nature.