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The transitional spaces of middle childhood: An enquiry into children's everyday lives as a contribution to new environmental education strategies

Gurevitz, Rachel; (1999) The transitional spaces of middle childhood: An enquiry into children's everyday lives as a contribution to new environmental education strategies. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis begins with an examination and critique of environmental education (E.E.) strategy in England and Wales, focusing on the dominant knowledge- attitude-behaviour model which underpins this strategy. I argue that new approaches to E.E. are required which respond to a different understanding of how daily behaviour is shaped. The first, and main goal, of this thesis is to present evidence from children's daily lives, providing the basis for new recommendations for E.E. strategy. Using Bowlby's attachment theory and Winnicott's theory of transitional spaces, the empirical chapters focus on children's daily behaviours and the influence of kin and peer relationships through which daily activities are shaped. I suggest that a conceptual shift away from 'behaviour' as an outcome towards 'behaving-in-relationship' as a process provides new opportunities for E.E. to contribute to behavioural transitions. The second goal of the thesis is to consider the importance of social constructions of childhood for E.E. and for geographical research with children. The former is important because most formal E.E. targets children in particular. An examination of those constructions of childhood underpinning formal education, and those emphasising the child as closer to nature, enable me to demonstrate their role in E.E. The thesis also contributes to the development of innovative methods for researching with children. My study involved two groups of 10-12 year old children from a village and a suburb in Southeast England, using questionnaires, art and photographic projects to stimulate group and one-to-one discussion. This work also raises questions about how 'the child' is constructed through and by the research methods used. I conclude the thesis with recommendations for new E.E. strategies, re-orientated to incorporate the social relationships through which daily behaviours are formed. I also demonstrate how this study contributes to debates in human geography about human-environment interactions and the geographies of children.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The transitional spaces of middle childhood: An enquiry into children's everyday lives as a contribution to new environmental education strategies
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10110129
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