In a world that grows increasingly aware of ecological problems such as global warming, rising sea levels, and pollution, we need to reconsider how we connect ourselves to the natural world around us. In this paper, we view makerspaces as ideal locations to shape children’s emotional, sociocultural, and educational consciousnesses about the environment and our multi-layered roles undertaken to live in, and conserve, it. We apply third space, makerspace, and relational value theories in the analysis of a research project conducted with children at an early childhood centre. This project invited children to discuss ocean conservation prompted by the picturebook Flotsam
(2006) and create three-dimensional exhibits that express how they visualize ocean conservation. Our research shows that children develop strong emotional connections to tangible representations of conservation when they are given the time to invest in making them, and that these emotional connections are driving forces for relational values that create conservation-oriented mindsets. It also shows how important context is for shaping the ways children learn, and that providing opportunities to examine conservation through makerspaces as a third space encourages children to create empathetic and personal relationships with the natural world.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.