Inspiring Environmental Literacy and Appreciation in an Urban Montessori Upper Elementary Classroom Without Easy Access to Nature
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Environmental Education (EE) is often praised by educators as an ideal way to integrate academic curriculum, encourage the academic, emotional and social growth of students, and promote conservation of the natural environment. With the many benefits of EE, also comes many barriers. This action-research explored the barrier of a lack of nature in an urban, public school in the Midwestern Montessori, E2 classroom. Data was collected using pre- and postsurveys completed by the students in the classroom concerning environmental literacy and appreciation. The researcher also observed classroom behaviors and adapted EE lessons to fit with the currently taught Montessori curriculum. The research showed that by adding plants and animals to the classroom environment along with connecting nature to what they are learning in other subjects, the students became more environmentally literate. It is concluded, that with more time, the student’s environmental literacy would lead to environmental appreciation, to create people who are stewards of the land.