26-08:00-6-3 / Environmental education tools to promote simple pro-environmental behaviour among preschool children in…

Environmental education in early childhood has been pointed out as having a great potential to promote pro-environmental behaviour in early years. Among various tools, games and visual items are commonly used for children’s learning and development and therefore, could possibly…

26-08:00-6-3 / Environmental education tools to promote simple pro-environmental behaviour among preschool children in...

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Environmental education in early childhood has been pointed out as having a great potential to promote pro-environmental behaviour in early years. Among various tools, games and visual items are commonly used for children’s learning and development and therefore, could possibly be used to promote such behaviour among young children. However, their impact on the actual behaviour should be investigated. The main objective of this study was to determine whether and to what extent board games and visual items (prompts) can promote simple behaviour, i.e. turning lights off in preschool environments. It was expected that (i) board games can enhance awareness of, knowledge about, and promote the behaviour and (ii) visual prompts can increase the likelihood of the behaviour.
A paper-board game was developed with the main principle that players have to turn lights off when leaving an empty room in a preschool while a visual prompt illustrating on and off lamps. These tools were tested in two preschools in Southern Sweden and Japan respectively, where a total of 35 children, 3-6 years, took part. In a case of Sweden, observations revealed that occasions that lights were turned off (i.e. light-off occasions) in the toilets and washroom increased by 41% after the game intervention, while the prompts did not increase the behaviour. On the other hand, it was found in a Japanese preschool that light-off occasions in the toilets increased by 20% after the game intervention, while light-off occasions further increased by 13% after the prompt was placed.
The differences in physical environments as well as social contexts between the two preschools may influence the children’s behaviour in this study. The results would add knowledge about actual pro-environmental behaviour among preschool children and also, facilitate design improvements of environmental education tools as well as behaviour interventions for preschools.

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