Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair
Secondary Advisor/Reader One
Teresa Lloro-Bidart and Constance Russell
This dissertation examines interspecies relations between preschool-aged children at a suburban nature-based preschool and the animals who reside on a “working farm” located on its grounds. Typical early childhood environmental education lenses regard children as a)separate from nature, in need of returning; and b) the sole subjects of interest, whose re/actions are the ones most worthy of attention. This work attempts to challenge the discourse of a child/nature/animal split by acknowledging the ways in which children are already engaged with nature and animals in their own ways. It acknowledges the animals present in a nature-based preschool setting, asserting their agency and experiences which are important in their own right. The study maintains a focus on farm animals, which are outside the traditional definitions of wildlife but are nevertheless sometimes associated with early childhood environmental education settings. Through a framework influenced by multispecies ethnography (Hamilton & Taylor 2017), common worlding (Taylor and Giugni 2010), the author conducted participant observations of two preschool classes. Aiming to decenter the human and stray from early childhood education’s traditional focus on child development, the author focused instead on the relational moments shared between children and animals which co-shaped their common worlds (Taylor & Pacini-Ketchabaw 2015), noting emergent themes including agency, embodiment, and vulnerability. Also discussed is the prevalence of discursive frames used by educators and their potential role in multispecies encounters.
preschool-aged children, nature-based preschool, environmental education
Born, Patty, "Common Worlds: Multi-Species Interactions at a Nature Based Preschool" (2019). School of Education Student Capstone Theses and Dissertations. 4511.
School of Education Student Capstone Theses and Dissertations