Several researchers have noted that the knowledge and awareness of children with regard to environmental concepts and issues are at a low level. The major aim of this study was to investigate the knowledge and understanding of primary school children about selected environmental concepts and issues such as conservation, recycling, pollution and environmental protection. This study also aimed at understanding how the children’s conceptions are developed and how the knowledge of these critical concepts shape their environmental awareness and practices outside the classroom. This information will assist those who have responsibilities for Environmental Education within schools and for those who develop support programmes for the protection, restoration and enhancement of the quality of the environment. The study was conducted at three primary schools and four children were selected from each school. This study involved the use of semi-structured interviews to ascertain details of children’s knowledge and conceptions about environmental issues. The study has established that the majority of children that took part in this study understand the environment only from a physical and biophysical perspective. This is characterised by a limited conception of the environment where the environment is thought to be a place, a place with living things and a place with living things and people. The research findings in the study also indicated that the majority of children that took part in investigation utilized by this study recognised basic facts concerning environmental problems; however most of them could not apply their knowledge to comprehend the consequences or suggest potential solutions to the environmental problems. This study will help towards the establishment of a sound basis for Environmental education in schools.
Dissertation (MEd (Environmental Education))--University of Pretoria, 2007.
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