This research addresses the role of “nature” in forest kindergartens and nature preschools. The purpose of this research is to create an ethnography of these schools and to understand how the schools construct nature for their students. I visited two schools to interview teachers and to observe for one day at each school. I also used the ethnographic method of content analysis to analyze blogs from a third preschool. I used literature about forest kindergartens and nature preschools as well as research on social class and education to understand my research. I also used theories on American “wilderness” and “nature” to understand conceptions of “nature” at these American preschools. I found that these schools use “nature” as a classroom, a facilitator for scientific skill, and a way to experience risk. “Nature” has religious connotations as well as gives children access to an enchanted world of mythical creatures. This research provides an in depth look at these schools and how they utilize “nature.”
Sociology and Anthropology
Reid, Emily T., "School Outside?: An ethnography of American forest kindergartens and nature preschools and how “nature” is used in these “classrooms”" (2017). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 7624.
Early Childhood Education | Social and Cultural Anthropology
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
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