It is said that children today are becoming increasingly disconnected from their environment. However, determining the extent of this disconnect by exploring young children’s environmental perceptions, experiences and conceptualisations can be challenging, with children not always having the words to describe what they see, think or feel. To address this issue, methodologies have been developed that enable children to communicate through various art forms. Problems associated with arts-based research methods include that literate cultures place little value on visual representations, with the assumption being that language is the most appropriate representational medium to express what one thinks, feels or senses. Even now, as the amount of published visual research increases, there remain remarkably few guides on how to do visual research methods and more importantly, how to interpret the visual. This paper describes a series of studies in which young children depicted “places”, through drawing, painting and collage, supplemented by stories and interviews. Their creations of “place” varied from the real (what they actually saw in their environment), to holiday spots, and hypothetical or imagined places. While children generally represented their places positively, they demonstrated a greater affinity for human made rather than natural objects within their environment.
|Keywords:||Arts in Education, Environmental Understanding through the Arts|
Senior Lecturer, School of Education, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Research Assistant, School of Education, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia