Assessing the “box for small natural scientists” regarding gain of species knowledge of pre-school children
Authors: Meike Mohneke, Anna Benze & Kirsten Schlüter
Abstract: Children’s perception of nature influences their attitudes towards conservation and the development of an environmental consciousness in general. Awareness for diversity, which implies knowledge of biodiversity, ecosystems, and species, is highly important in this sense and should be supported from early age on. The researchers’ box for small natural scientists promotes nature experiences in early childhood education. It encourages children to get to know the species in their surroundings. Herein we present the outcome of a study investigating the gain of knowledge achieved by the use of the researcher’s box. Children who have worked with the researcher’s box during one year showed better performances in identifying plant and animal species and knowing of additional native species in particular. The intensity in which the tool was used only had a minor effect on the children’s capability to identify species. We concluded that the researcher’s box is a valuable tool because it stimulates an overall exchange about and examination of native species and thus leads to better species knowledge of pre-school children.
Journal: The Journal of Health, Environment, & Education