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Seeking a Community Partner: Curriculum Development for Early Childhood Environmental Education

Gary Evans who is a Professor of Human Development and Human Centered Design is an environmental and developmental psychologist who studies the interrelations between children and the physical environment. Some of his work has focused on the development of environmental attitudes and ecological behaviors in young children. Among his findings that is salient for the summer internship activity is that children younger than six do not have coherent environmental attitudes and have trouble to understand the concept of environmental or ecological behavior. For the past two years he and his students have been exploring to related issue: at what age to children understand climate change? Among those who understand, how do they respond to it emotionally? Currently and into the summer we will be analyzing these data (250 children 5-7 years of age from across the United States). We are also beginning to collect similar data in China and in Spain.


The Cornell undergraduate who has worked on this project for a year is now in China this semester collecting the Chinese data. She and I together would like to partner with someone in 4-H or other activities who are interested in designing or modifying curriculum for teachers as well as parent focusing on young children and climate change. We have in depth experience with the science and knowledge base about childhood environmental attitudes and ecological behaviors. We do not have experience working with childhood educators on how to translate our own work and knowledge more generally into programs and approaches to facilitate educators and parents to engage with children around climate change.


Thus we are seeking a community partner who would like to collaborate with us on developing such materials.


If you are interested, please contact Gary Evans at gwe1@cornell.edu.


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