The concept of sustainability is one of the frequently used concepts nowadays. Although the word “sustainability”, which comes from the Latin word “Sustinere” in its origins, is used in many meanings in dictionaries, it is basically used with the meaning of maintaining, providing, sustaining, supporting and existing [1
]. The concept of sustainability is defined as a participatory process that ensures the prudent use of social, cultural, scientific, natural and human resources of the society and that creates a social point of view on the basis of respecting this [2
]. In its simplest terms, sustainability is to protect natural resources and make the most effective use of them [3
]. The term “sustainable development”, which was first used in the mid-1970s, is defined as “the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” in the report prepared by the Brundtland Commission. The main purpose of the Brundtland Commission, also known as the World Commission on Environmental and Development (WCED), was to help guide the world nations towards sustainable development goals [4
]. Sustainable development consists of three components. These are the environment, society and economy. These three areas are intertwined and cannot be considered separately. Environmental responsibility is the ability to use natural resources without disturbing the balance and integrity of ecosystems. Environmental responsibility requires trying to protect the environment, reduce environmental pollution and other negative effects on the environment, mitigate the effects of industrialization and human activities and ensure the sustainable use of resources. Social solidarity refers to equal opportunity and social cohesion that include the development of welfare, quality of life and sustainable human development for humans. Social solidarity aims to develop the education, health, housing and welfare of individuals and communities. Economic efficiency refers to the effectiveness of economic and technological activities, encouraging investment and productivity, economic growth and economic output potential. It seeks ways to eliminate income poverty with economic efficiency [4
Education may contribute to a new sustainable global development vision [5
]; in other words, high-quality education makes up the basis of sustainable development. As is explained in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), individuals should be sustainability change-makers to create a more sustainable world [6
]. Children are a common factor for all aspects of sustainable development. Therefore, in order to have a positive impact on the future, children must acquire the necessary skills from an early age. Sustainable development, which aims solely to support “the child in its entirety” can ensure real development progress by simultaneously promoting and protecting children’s emotional, social, physical and cognitive development and their basic life needs [8
]. Children have the right to develop fully their potentials and live in a sustainable world [9
]. To this end, children should have the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that will enable them to contribute to sustainable development. Therefore, education is very important for achieving sustainable development. Sustainable development and education policies are becoming more and more compatible [6
]. Nevertheless, not all kind of education supports sustainable development [5
]. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) means including the key sustainable development issues (climate change, reducing the risk of disaster, biological diversity, reducing poverty and sustainable consumption) in teaching and learning. ESD gives every person the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to shape a sustainable future [6
]. Furthermore, ESD should adopt innovative, participatory teaching and learning methods in order to reach and motivate all students for them to implement their creative and critical thinking skills and actively lead the sustainable development process [11
]. As a result, ESD promotes competences such as critical thinking, imagining future scenarios and cooperative decision making. Sustainable development, which states that both values can be protected and development can be realized, is one of the most important tools for presenting the right to live to all humans in a healthy environment, which is one of the fundamental rights defined by the United Nations (UN) [6
In recent years, environmental issues have become one of the most important issues on the world agenda. Pollution problems, degradation of nature, economic efficiency and national security, global warming, ozone depletion, loss of biodiversity have made humanity realize environmental problems. Therefore, it is very important to inform children about the environment from an early age in order to protect the environment and raise awareness of environmental issues. In light of the studies they conducted, Korhonen and Lappalainen [13
] concluded that education plays a very important role in raising environmental awareness. Environmental awareness can be defined as emotional attitudes towards the environment that direct students in an emotional and conceptual way to respect the environment, worry about the environment and behave more properly towards the environment [14
]. Environmental education is the process of recognizing values and clarifying concepts in order to develop the skills and attitudes necessary to understand and evaluate the relationship between human beings, their culture and the biophysical environment. Furthermore, environmental education is a process that helps individuals, communities and organizations to learn more about the environment, develop their research skills and make intelligent and informed decisions about how to deal with it. Environmental education also requires practice in making decisions about environmental quality issues and applying codes of conduct [15
]. Environmental education, which is based on sustainability principles that focus on how people and nature can coexist in productive harmony, is a process that enables individuals to discover environmental problems, participate in solving these problems and act to improve the environment. In this way, individuals understand environmental issues better and therefore develop their conscious and responsible decision-making skills. Environmental education does not support a particular point of view; it even teaches individuals how to discuss various aspects of a topic through critical thinking, develops their own problem-solving and effective decision-making skills. Environmental education uses processes that involve students in observation, measurement, classification, testing and other data collection techniques. These processes help students discuss, predict and interpret data on environmental issues [16
The most important step in the attempt to define the term environmental education was taken at the International Working Meeting on Environmental Education in the School Curriculum held by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) in Nevada in 1970 [18
]. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) later initiated the International Environmental Education Program (IEEP) in 1975 to share knowledge, experience and research, provide training of the personnel, develop curricula and materials, and promote international cooperation in the field of environmental education. The first international environmental education conference was held in Belgrade in 1975. The first Intergovernmental Conference on environmental education held by UNESCO in cooperation with UNEP was held in Tbilisi two years after the Belgrade Charter [19
]. In the Belgrade Charter [20
], the overall aim of environmental education was to produce environmental actions in order to “develop all ecological relations, including the relations of humanity with nature and people”. At the Tbilisi Conference [21
], the purpose of environmental education is to (a) raise clear awareness of economic, social, political and ecological dependence in urban and rural areas; (b) provide everyone with opportunities to acquire the knowledge, values, attitudes, commitment and skills necessary to protect and improve the environment; and (c) that individuals, groups and society as a whole create new patterns of behavior towards the environment. The objectives of environmental education at the Tbilisi Conference are as follows; (a) awareness: helping individuals and social groups gain awareness and sensitivity towards the environment and environmental issues; (b) knowledge: helping individuals and social groups gain a variety of experiences and develop a basic understanding of the environment and environmental problems; (c) attitude: to help individuals and social groups to create value judgments about the environment and to motivate active participation in the improvement and protection of the environment; (d) skills: to help individuals and social groups acquire skills to identify and solve environmental problems; (e) participation: to provide individuals and social groups with the opportunity to participate actively at all levels in works for the solution of environmental problems. The guiding principles of environmental education determined at the Tbilisi Conference are as follows: Environmental education should (a) address the environment in its entirety—natural and artificial, ecological, political, economic, technological, social, legal, cultural and aesthetical; (b) be a lifelong process that continues both in and out of school; (c) be interdisciplinary; (d) emphasize active participation in the prevention and resolution of environmental problems; (e) examine important environmental issues in terms of the world, giving due consideration to regional differences; (f) focus on current and future environmental situations; (g) examine all development and growth from an environmental perspective; (h) promote the value and necessity of local, national and international cooperation in solving environmental problems. At the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, it was understood that education is a vital factor in developing people’s capacity to cope with the subjects related to the environment and development in addition to promoting sustainable development [22
]. One of the most important documents that emerged after the 1992 Earth Summit was Chapter 36 of Agenda 21. This document emphasizes the need to “rethink of and reorganize education as a medium of knowledge, thinking patterns and values needed from preschool to university to build a sustainable world” [23
]. Since 1992, the field of environmental education has been greatly influenced by the concept of sustainable development and many educators argue that environmental education should actually focus on achieving sustainable development goals. The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) organized in 2002 by the United Nations and which is the most important summit held by then, was held in Johannesburg. At this summit, which is the first global conference of the 21st century, the developments and practices after the 1992 World Summit were evaluated and strategies were determined for Agenda 21 to be implemented more effectively [24
]. With the adoption of decision No. 57/254 that announced 2005–2014 as the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) in December 2002 by the United Nations General Assembly, the theme of ESD has gained international legitimacy and attractiveness. At UNESCO’s World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development held in Bonn in 2009, education was turned into a much more important mechanism to ensure more sustainability in development. Those who participated in the ESD World Conference created an action plan and defined concrete steps to support achieving the DESD targets [25
]. Environmental education emphasizes that knowledge, attitudes and skills are related to the environment and that the foundations of a sustainable environment can be established through advanced education [26
]. The pioneer being Lucas [28
], environmental researchers such as Fien [29
], Fien [30
], Gough [31
], Tilbury [32
], Palmer [18
] and Palmer and Neal [33
] and organizations such as UNESCO [34
] and Curriculum Development Council (CDC) [35
] emphasized that environmental education must include the following three dimensions to be regarded as meaningful education.
EE as education about the environment
EE as education in or through the environment
EE as education for the environment
Environmental education means that an individual can interact with the environment, should undertake the role of helping to learn about one’s own environment and finally, that the individual can use the knowledge and skills that are necessary to protect or care for the environment. In their study, Paredes-Chi and Viga-de Alva [36
] present the importance of environmental education in the curriculum as a key element that must be implemented since it is not sufficient for students to learn only environmental problems, they should also know the reasons for and consequences of these problems and possible solutions on how they can help.
The earliest years of a child’s life are viewed as a critical period for developing the foundations for thinking, behaving and emotional well-being. Early learning experiences are crucial determining factors for especially intellectual, social, emotional and physical development and will ultimately affect how well a child will perform in school and life [37
]. European Commission [40
] stated that early childhood education and care has the potential to give all young people a good start in the world of tomorrow and to break the cycle which transmits disadvantage from one generation to another, that’s quality early education can produce important long-term improvements in the intellectual, social, emotional and physical development of children and has a profound and long lasting impact on a person’s future [37
]. Children learn in a completely different way from adults. Since young children are active learners, their best learning is not through being informed, but through hands-on, interactive play and self-discovery. In this respect, environmental education given to children must be designed to meet their developmental needs, interests, abilities and learning styles in order to be effective in this period [43
]. It is important to raise environmental awareness for preschool children, but it is more important that environmental education programs are appropriate to children’s perspective. Young children have an innate tendency to explore and connect to the natural world known as biophilia that’s love of nature. Developmentally appropriate opportunities should be provided for children to continue these natural tendencies and learn about the natural world [47
]. Teaching environmental issues abstractly in the classroom does not lead to pro-environmental behaviors in later life [54
]. Providing information about abstract concepts such as rainforests‘ destruction, acid rains and ozone holes at a very early age may cause children to become anxious about these problems and develop phobia or biophobia, that’s a fear of the natural world and ecological problems or a fear of just being outside [55
]. There are many studies emphasizing the importance of environmental education in early childhood period. Eagles and Demare [58
] stated that environmental education for children should be given at a very early age because even sixth graders children, aged 11–12 years, may be too old to make a difference in their attitudes toward the environment and gain environmental awareness. White and Stoecklin [57
] emphasized that environmental education in early childhood should primarily aim to develop empathy between the child and the natural world. Chawla, Keena, Pevec and Stanley [59
] concluded that environmental education in natural areas enables children to escape stress, focus, build competence and form supportive social groups. In their study, Chawla and Hart [60
], Cohen and Horm-Wingerd [61
] revealed that early childhood environmental education increases children’s environmental awareness and knowledge and positive childhood experiences encourage positive attitudes towards the natural environment.
Since ESD aims to create a more livable world for future generations of all living things in the world, it is very important to provide all children the necessary knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to shape a sustainable future. ESD is not only about raising environmentally aware and environmentally friendly children; it also requires developing children’s life skills. Because children who have environmental skills and awareness as well as life skills play an active role in protecting the world’s resources. Environmental education, which started in early childhood, improves children’s environmental awareness. Family and school cooperation is very important in raising environmental awareness. The acquired knowledge should be applied by both teachers and families. Appropriate environments should be created for children to practice and experience what they have learned in the classroom. Because when new information is applied, it becomes a behavior. Thus, ESD can help change and improve our future.
Significance and Aim of the Study
It is observed that the research in recent years is aimed at the knowledge and perceptions of children and young people regarding the environment [62
]. Again, research has shown that environmental education has a positive effect on students’ greater interest in their environment [70
]. Therefore, environmental education should start from preschool age and continue during the school years [73
]. Hence, the perception and knowledge levels of teachers and pre-service teachers with regard to the environment are critical because teachers play an important role in developing children’s environmental thoughts and environmental education. Improving and developing environmental education can only be achieved through qualified teachers in terms of environmental literacy [74
]. The studies conducted show that teachers play an important role in developing children’s thoughts about the environment and nature and in their environmental education [70
]. Undoubtedly, preschool teachers are the first people who communicate with children and teach them new information after their family. As teachers raise environmental awareness among children through their behaviors and thoughts, teachers should be environmentally conscious individuals and they should possess the knowledge and skills regarding how to teach this awareness and environmental education to children. It is also very important that pre-service teachers are raised in a qualified manner at university, where they learn the knowledge and skills on how to teach environmental consciousness and give environmental education to preschool children. Undoubtedly, we cannot expect preschool teachers who do not have environmental awareness and responsibility to be environment-friendly teachers. In this context, the opinions of preschool teachers and pre-service preschool teachers, who are the teachers of the future, regarding environmental awareness and environmental education gain importance because it is believed that the perceptions and level of knowledge of preschool teachers and pre-service teachers regarding environmental education will shape children’s perceptions and knowledge levels. As a result of the literature review, no comparative study that examines the opinions of preschool teachers working in different cities in seven different geographical regions of Turkey and pre-service teachers studying at the Department of Preschool Education in different provinces in seven different geographical regions of Turkey has been found. In this study, it has been tried to determine whether the teachers and pre-service teachers have enough awareness and knowledge about the environment and environmental education. Because if teachers and pre-service teachers have enough awareness and knowledge about the environment and environmental education, they will raise up the next generation with this awareness. The main aim of this study is to examine the opinions of preschool teachers and pre-service teachers regarding environmental education and environmental awareness during the preschool period.
The answers to the following questions were sought within the scope of the main aim of the study:
What do you think about environmental education during the preschool period?
What are the issues that should be taken into consideration in environmental education practices to raise environmental awareness among children during the preschool period?
Answers given by teachers and pre-service teachers to the questions within the scope of this study conducted to determine the opinions of preschool teachers and pre-service teachers on environmental education and environmental awareness for sustainable development were presented separately and discussed in the light of the literature.
Environmental education is a key to developing environmental literacy that can help empower students in ensuring that they take pro-environmental decisions and take actions that will help to ensure a sustainable future [84
]. Especially in the preschool period, environmental education positively affects children’s attitudes towards nature and increases children’s level of awareness [85
]. As a result of the interviews on environmental education in the preschool period, both preschool teachers and pre-service teachers emphasized that environmental education is very useful and necessary training for children. In their study, Beringer et al. [89
] concluded that schools and universities that play the role of educating the members of the society should take part in the movement of sustainability more actively. Than [90
] stated that teachers play a very important role in determining the quality of education, especially in primary schools because children, who are sensitive towards the environment and have positive attitudes, can only be educated by teachers with these characteristics [91
]. Therefore, providing environmental education at all education levels starting from preschool education institutions and at universities where teacher training is given is important and necessary to improve the society’s view of nature. During the interviews, teachers and pre-service teachers talked about various factors affecting environmental education, problems encountered before or during education and made various recommendations for environmental education.
Teachers and pre-service teachers stated that environmental education is necessary “to gain environmental protection awareness”, “to teach environmental rules”, “to gain sensitivity and responsibility towards the environment” and “to be environmentally friendly.” Teachers and pre-service teachers, who think that environmental education is necessary, believe that children who are close to nature at a young age, who gain nature awareness and who participate in nature education will also become young people who love, protect and take responsibility for everything in their future lives. For this reason, it is very important to create a comfortable and convertible education environment that will arouse curiosity in preschool children whose attention is difficult to attract, where children can do research [94
]. Teachers and pre-service teachers also stated that this education would benefit to children with regard to the “love for nature”, “social skills development”, “motor skills development”, “permanent learning”, “development of the sense of responsibility” and “development of self-confidence”. In their study, Bell and Dyment [96
], Dyment [97
], Zsóka et al. [27
] stated that outdoor learning improves the intellectual, physical, moral and social aspects of students more than indoor learning, increases students’ participation and creativity and also contributes to their knowledge, skills and attitudes towards the environment. Despite all the difficulties encountered, there are studies that require teachers to incorporate nature and environmental studies into their curricula. In these studies, it was determined that the time spent in nature improves the stress levels and creative skills of children [98
], positively affects their interest in science both at the moment and in the future [100
], contributes to the welfare and development of children [104
], increases environmental awareness [105
], supports motor development [107
], ensures gaining and maintaining abstract reasoning [108
], contributes to scientific knowledge, scientific thinking process and word development [49
]. In their study, Hine, Pretty and Barton [113
] determined that the level of stress decreases, the mood improves, psychological wellbeing increases, attention and concentration rise to higher levels as a result of the contact with nature. In the study conducted, Jordan [114
] revealed that being in natural environments makes emotional and mental health components more effective. It is obvious that the healing power of nature provides progress and development in many areas.
Teachers and pre-service teachers listed the factors affecting environmental education as “the teacher’s knowledge”, “child’s interest”, “teacher’s interest”, “teaching materials”, “number of students”, “curriculum”, “family support”, “the physical structure of the school/classroom”, “financing”, “administrative workload” and “climate”. The scarcity or abundance, adequacy or insufficiency, effectiveness or ineffectiveness of these factors according to where they are applicable affect environmental education positively or negatively. Especially the lack of knowledge of the teacher and pre-service teacher regarding environmental education causes problems in environmental education practices [115
]. Therefore, comprehensive training focusing on ESD needs to be included in the teacher training program [118
]. In their study, Ayvacı, Devecioğlu and Yiğit [119
], Garbett [120
] and Özbey [121
] revealed that pre-service teachers do not feel self-sufficient in general both in terms of the level of knowledge in science and nature activities and the level of planning and implementation. In contrast with these findings, Tuncer et al. [75
] found in their study that pre-service teachers with low environmental knowledge levels have positive attitudes towards the environment and are highly concerned with environmental problems. Again, in the same study, it was stated that teachers, who are knowledgeable about the environment, will also raise students who are environmentally literate, have positive attitudes towards the environment and who are worried about environmental problems. “Crowded classroom”, “lack of knowledge of the teacher”, “lack of teaching resources”, “indifference of the child”, “indifference of the family”, “inadequacy of in-service training” and “inadequate support from the school administration” are the most common problems faced by teachers and pre-service teachers in environmental education practices. Teachers and pre-service teachers think that these problems are caused by “administration”, “parents”, “teachers” and “children.” Teachers and pre-service teachers emphasized that the child- and parent-related problems can be solved more easily, but administration- and teacher-based problems are relatively more resistant and difficult to overcome. The study conducted by Sylva et al. [122
] shows that the early home learning environment, i.e. parents and families, significantly contributes to the sustainable development understanding of children. In his study, Yusoff [123
] explained the reason for the problem related to the development of environmental awareness as the lack of knowledge of the public regarding environmental problems and inadequate education. The results of the study, such as inadequacy of in-service training on the subject of environmental education, insufficient knowledge of the teacher and the negative effects of the family’s insensitivity towards the environment on the child, are consistent with the findings of this study. Furthermore, in the study by Özbek [124
], the majority of the teachers stated that the number of children in the classroom should be between 10 and 15 in order for science and nature activities to achieve their purpose. In the studies carried out by Aslan, Zor and Cicim [125
], Çınar [126
], Kandır, Özbey and İnal [127
], Kıldan and Pektaş [112
], Özsırkıntı, Akay and Yılmaz-Bolat [128
], they concluded that teachers face problems such as the lack of teaching resources and equipment, insufficient knowledge, crowded classrooms and negative attitudes and behaviors of parents and administration. These results also support the findings of this study.
With regard to effective environmental education, teachers and pre-service teachers suggested “being a role model”, “arranging environmental trips”, “gamification of environmental issues”, “reading books about the environment”, “organizing in-service training for teachers” and “giving art training about nature”. Knowledge becomes much more permanent for children when they are involved in environmental education, especially in entertaining ways. Children’s awareness of ecological knowledge and environmental issues can be developed, making them more concerned about the environment, so that they are easily motivated to engage in pro-environmental behaviors [129
]. Research shows that children play more in green areas, they give place to more creative and non-structured games [96
], therefore, they become individuals who are healthier, happier and who get on better with others, have more knowledge and experience on plants and animals [131
]. Since it is determined that children who have frequently spent the time outdoors during childhood have more positive attitudes towards environmental problems [106
], it is important to create education environments enriched by applied training, enabling children to spend more time in nature [132
]. At this point, the importance of teachers’ having knowledge regarding activities for environmental education comes to the forefront. In their study, Karaer and Kösterlioğlu [95
] emphasized that the knowledge of teachers is limited to their pre-service training, and therefore, they need in-service training.
According to preschool teachers and pre-service teachers, in environmental education practices, attention should be paid to the subjects to be included, the activities to be performed, the methods and materials to be used, the frequency of application and the time to be allocated, because environmental education is a whole that consists of these components.
According to teachers and pre-service teachers, children should have knowledge about “environmental pollution”, “recycling”, “energy-saving”, “creatures living in nature” and “ways to protect the environment” as a subject within the scope of environmental education, because if future generations do not have sufficient knowledge and awareness regarding these issues and do what is necessary, human beings will not be able to find a place to live for themselves soon. Wals [134
] explained the necessity of environmental education, which is a must for protecting nature and stated that subjects such as environmental degradation, environmental health, environmental pollution, and especially the subjects of nature, biological diversity and ecology, should be included in education. According to teachers and pre-service teachers, entertaining and engaging activities such as “planting trees”, “examining plants and animals”, “organizing nature trips”, “collecting garbage” and “carrying out scientific experiments”, “examining recyclable materials” and “watching documentaries on the environment” should be definitely included in education because, for adults, childhood nature experiences form the basis of their interest and curiosity about learning more about nature [135
]. According to Robertson [136
], it is very important to provide children with places to play outside, such as a park, farm, or beach, in shaping children’s environmental attitudes.
According to preschool teachers and pre-service teachers, the methods to be used within the scope of environmental education are “experiment/observation”, “trips”, “drama”, “games”, “story-telling”, “music” and “art”; while the materials to be used are “science materials”, “natural materials”, “books” and “technology-supported materials”. While teachers preferred more traditional methods and materials such as “experiment/observation” and “science materials” in terms of the methods and materials to be used, pre-service teachers preferred to use methods such as “games” and “drama” and “natural materials” that motivate children more easily. In the study conducted, Avcı [137
] revealed that science activities are not given sufficient importance in preschool education institutions and preschool teachers do not have sufficient knowledge and skills regarding the objectives of science education and the methods and techniques used. In the studies carried out by Alabay [138
], Karaer and Kösterlioğlu [95
], Kıldan and Pektaş [112
], Özbek [124
] and Sansar [139
], it was determined that preschool teachers frequently used experimental and observation methods in science and nature teaching, but they rarely included entertaining and enjoyable methods and techniques such as field trips, drama, and games. According to the results of the study conducted by Karaer and Kösterelioğlu [95
], most of the teachers stated that they used common science teaching materials, while some of them stated that they used animals, plants and natural materials. Teachers also identified themselves as inadequate in material development. The results of this research also support the findings of the study in general.
In their study, Boca and Saraçlı [140
] showed that students who have received academic education on the environment take part in activities related to the protection of the environment (volunteer, warning, participation, recycling of materials) and they are more environmentally friendly individuals. For this reason, using environmental education frequently within education programs through practices will increase children’s love for and awareness of nature. The frequency of applying environmental education varies as “once a week”, “twice a week”, or “once a month”, according to teachers and pre-service teachers. There are also teachers who replied as “once every term”. The time that should be allocated to environmental education is “2 h and more” or “between 1 and 2 h”, according to teachers and pre-service teachers. Nevertheless, some teachers think that “up to 1 h” is sufficient. The fact that all of the teachers who responded as “once every term” and “up to 1 h” consist of the teachers with seniority of 16 years and above shows that teachers who have more professional seniority need more positive motivation. In the study by Özbek [124
], most of the teachers organize science and nature activities for a duration of 0–30 min at least once a week. Teachers and pre-service teachers stated that children have higher environmental awareness and have more positive views and attitudes towards the environment in classes where environmental education practices are used frequently and for longer periods. In addition, some teachers and pre-service teachers stated that this situation is true for them. So it is necessary to increase the educational studies aimed at gaining the philosophy of lifelong learning in the society [141
In the research findings, preschool teachers and pre-service teachers listed the factors affecting environmental education, the benefits of environmental education, problems encountered in environmental education practices, the source of these problems and their suggestions for environmental education practices. In addition, teachers and pre-service teachers shared their views on subjects and activities that should be within the scope of environmental education, methods and materials that should be used in environmental education and the effective time and frequency for environmental education. These opinions are very valuable and important since they are the opinions of teachers working in the field and trainee teachers. In this respect, it is thought that these opinions and suggestions will be a guide and support for programs, curricula, laws, or policies to be prepared for environmental education. Because education is of prime importance for promoting sustainable development and helping people to develop competencies in order to solve environmental and development problems.
There are some limitations to the present study. In qualitative research, the generalization of the research findings is considered as a limitation. The reason for not being generalized is the nature of social events. Since it is not possible to relive the same social event, it is difficult to generalize the findings of a social event to other social events. In addition, it is not always possible to determine the level of sample that will represent the relevant universe in qualitative research [77
]. Therefore, it is difficult to generalize the research findings and the views of preschool teachers and pre-service teachers in this study.