Funded by a UBC Hampton Research Grant, I’ll start a new research project in the next months. It is entitled “The Land in My School: Children and the Landscape in British Columbia’s Past and the Enhancement of Environmental Learning.”
This research will infuse contemporary environmental education frameworks currently used in BC schools with a historical perspective. History can teach us a great deal about how children interacted with their physical environment, how they thought about and valued the land, and how and why this has changed over time.
A key driver of this research is a largely overlooked archival collection of 200 letters written by parents and children between 1919 and 1930 to the Elementary Correspondence School (ECS), an innovative distance education program operated by the then-named Department of Education of British Columbia. The ECS offered free public school curriculum for children either too far from a public school or with limited access due to difficult terrain. A preliminary scan of around 50 letters written by children reveal detailed descriptions of their physical landscape and its relevance to their play, work, and learning. Discourse analysis will help isolate key themes in the letters, including attention to how space is made meaningful in the lives of children, that link with current C.A.R.E. curricular themes. This research provides opportunities for students to learn from, and engage with, children in the past, thereby enriching current ECE curriculum development and environmental learning in BC.
visit the project blog at: https://blogs.ubc.ca/thelandismyschool/