How do inquiry-focused nature walks influence pre-school students' understanding of their environment, engagement in nature, and emotional regulation?

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Date

2021

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to discover whether there is measurable value in adding elements of nature school philosophy to a traditional Montessori preschool, even in an imperfect or transitional environment. Do inquiry-focused nature walks influence preschool students' understanding of their environment, engagement in nature, or emotional regulation? In this project I attempted to measure the impact of a daily inquiry walk, through several data streams: a parent survey, a nature inquiry checklist based on the NGSS kindergarten science standards, and by direct observation of nap and walk time and quality. Despite many setbacks and school closures, our initial findings suggest positive results in the areas of healthy sleep, knowledge and understanding of the natural world, and emotional and behavioral health.

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