Effect of Short-Term Environmental Education on Long-Term Attitudes Towards the Environment In the Preschooler’s Mind
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As a nation we suffer mightily from environmental illiteracy; two-thirds of United States citizens have failed even a basic environmental quiz and 88 percent failed a basic energy quiz. In addition with the rise of environmental degradation issues the use of environmental education has never been more important. Environmental education is the learning process that increases people's knowledge and awareness about the environment and associated challenges. Helping to develop the necessary skills and expertise needed to help address the challenges, to foster attitudes, motivate, and make the commitments to formulate informed decisions and take responsible actions when dealing with issues in the environment. In this study the effect of environmental education on preschool aged students’ environmental knowledge was assessed. A total of 40 preschoolers, 20 of who were pre-k students and 20 four-year old preschoolers participated in a qualitative (interview) study, where they were asked questions dealing with the concepts of recycling and conservation. The use of both pre- and post-tests were employed to determine if environmental education is effective in both the short-term and long-term in younger aged students. The results indicated that receiving an environmental education instruction contributed significantly to the student’s environmental knowledge both in the short-term when assessed immediately following receiving of instruction. As well as in the long-term when examined five months following the last testing. The pre-k instruction group answered 96% in the short-term and 91% in the long-term of their questions correctly and the four year olds answered 91% and 87% respectively correctly. While the control groups only scored a 76% and 90% correctly at the pre-k age and 73% and 79% at the four year old age. The use of environmental education is critical to insuring the long term health of our environment and it starts with educating our nation’s youth.