It’s like a fruit on a tree: young Maltese children’s understanding of the environment

Jane Spiteri*, Peter Higgins, Robbie Nicol

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

With increasing evidence and concern over human impacts on planetary systems, children are more likely to be exposed to such changes, and be affected by them, over their lifetime. This qualitative multiple case study explores the ways in which young Maltese children (aged 3–7 years) perceive the environment. Preliminary data were collected via observations in two state schools and one household. Document analysis and semi-structured conversational interviews with 9 children, including children’s drawings and their interpretations of them provided breadth and depth to the data collection process. Findings indicate that children perceived the environment as nature; in terms of a human-environment relationship; as an asset to humanity; and, as a sense of place and identity. While they held misconceptions, they also exhibited protective dispositions. The implications of these findings for policy and practice, and some of the directions for future research that stem from this study, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Early online date2 Dec 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Dec 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • case study
  • Early childhood education for sustainability
  • environment
  • nature
  • young children


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