Universal Journal of Educational Research Vol. 7(4), pp. 942 - 953
DOI: 10.13189/ujer.2019.070405
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Pre-service Early Childhood Educators' Perceptions of Nature and Its Integration to Teaching Practices


Şenil Ünlü Çetin *
Department of Early Childhood Education, Faculty of Education, Kırıkkale University, Turkey

ABSTRACT

Today's pre-service early childhood educators will become the teachers of next generation young children. To create an environmentally sensitive society, they have a crucial role. It is important to understand how they perceive nature and its integration to teaching practices. In the current study, 26 Turkish pre-service early childhood educators were asked to draw nature and respond three-open ended question; "(1) What is nature? (2) Would you like to integrate nature into your future teaching practices? Why? (3) How would you plan to integrate nature into your future teaching practices?" Written answers to these questions and pre-service early childhood teachers' drawings were analyzed thematically. Findings revealed that pre-service early childhood educator defined nature as "(1) living and non-living; (2) source and (3) system" and their drawings included "flora, atmospheric features, fauna, geographical features and human-made stuff", respectively. All participants revealed that they would like to integrate nature into their future teaching practices and mostly given reason for nature integration was increasing children's environmental awareness. More than half of the participants reported that they would integrate nature into their future teaching practices via outdoor activities, it is followed by science and indoor activities. Through critically evaluating these findings, suggestions were presented for teacher training programs and future researchers.

KEYWORDS
Pre-service Early Childhood Educators, Nature, Perceptions, Integration

Cite this paper
Şenil Ünlü Çetin . "Pre-service Early Childhood Educators' Perceptions of Nature and Its Integration to Teaching Practices." Universal Journal of Educational Research 7.4 (2019) 942 - 953. doi: 10.13189/ujer.2019.070405.