Remembering and Representing the Wonder: Using Arts-Based Reflection to Connect Pre-service Early Childhood Teachers to Significant Childhoodnature Encounters and Their Professional Role

  • Alison L. Black
Living reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


Early childhood educators are uniquely placed to support children’s ways of knowing and being and to share in and respond to children’s wonder and understandings about childhoodnature encounters and relationships. The context of this chapter is a sustainability-focused course in an Australian undergraduate early childhood education teaching degree. As part of this course, two groups of 27 pre-service teachers used narrative and arts-based methods to explore personal childhoodnature experiences and memories. Supported by their stories and creative and historical artifacts, pre-service teachers remembered their childhood wonder of belonging to a universe – a universe they are part of and shape – but that extends beyond them (Bennett. Thoreau’s nature: Ethics, politics, and the wild. London: Sage, 1994). This chapter highlights how pre-service teachers’ reflection and representation of their significant childhood experiences supported their subsequent communication of personal and professional commitments to working with young children in relational ways toward sustainable worlds (Rautio. Children’s Geographies, 11:4, 394–408, 2013b).

Remembering significant childhoodnature encounters assisted pre-service teachers’ articulation of conceptualized and embodied ideas about relationships, including their sense of belonging, wellbeing, and connectedness to other people and the more than human world around them and their physical, mental, and spiritual health. Remembering the wonder has connected them afresh to their values and work as educators who recognize the significance of childhood experiences, the interconnectedness of human and more than human worlds, and early environments as places of being, belonging, and becoming for children and families.


Pre-service teacher reflection and representation Early childhood education Narrative and arts-based methods Childhoodnature encounters 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of the Sunshine CoastSunshine CoastAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Debra Flanders Cushing
    • 1
  • Robert Barratt
    • 2
  • Elisabeth Barratt Hacking
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Design, Creative Industries FacultyQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.The Eden ProjectCornwallUK
  3. 3.Department of EducationUniversity of BathBathUK

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