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Article

Species Learning and Biodiversity in Early Childhood Teacher Education

1
Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, PB 9, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
2
Department of Early Childhood Education, University of Stavanger, 4036 Stavanger, Norway
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3698; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093698
Received: 18 March 2020 / Revised: 26 April 2020 / Accepted: 27 April 2020 / Published: 3 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity Education for Sustainable Development)
To understand biodiversity, it is crucial to have knowledge of different species and their life conditions. Biodiversity learning for children starts with observing plants and animals in the neighbourhood. Therefore, it is important that early childhood (EC) teachers know the local nature. There are few studies on species knowledge among EC student teachers but results from a Norwegian study show that although EC student teachers had poor species knowledge when entering university, their knowledge increased remarkably during their studies. Based on these results, the current study investigates the implementation of species learning in an EC teacher education course in Finland. Our aim was to study the student teachers’ species identification skills, their views on the importance of species knowledge, and their experiences of species learning. The study used a mixed-methods approach and included species identification tests, a questionnaire, learning diaries, and focus group interviews. The results show that the student teachers were eager to learn about species. They found species learning important both for EC teachers and for sustainability, and they appreciated learning about species in a broad sense, from personal, educational, and social perspectives. Our conclusion is that implementing species knowledge in EC teacher education promotes an interest in the natural world and may form a significant contribution to nature and sustainability education for EC teachers. View Full-Text
Keywords: early childhood teacher education; early childhood education; biodiversity learning; biodiversity education; species knowledge; species learning; sustainability education; Finnish early childhood teacher education; outdoor education; student teachers early childhood teacher education; early childhood education; biodiversity learning; biodiversity education; species knowledge; species learning; sustainability education; Finnish early childhood teacher education; outdoor education; student teachers
MDPI and ACS Style

Wolff, L.-A.; Skarstein, T.H. Species Learning and Biodiversity in Early Childhood Teacher Education. Sustainability 2020, 12, 3698. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093698

AMA Style

Wolff L-A, Skarstein TH. Species Learning and Biodiversity in Early Childhood Teacher Education. Sustainability. 2020; 12(9):3698. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093698

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wolff, Lili-Ann, and Tuula H. Skarstein 2020. "Species Learning and Biodiversity in Early Childhood Teacher Education" Sustainability 12, no. 9: 3698. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093698

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