Language and Literacy Development in Nature Preschools : A Comparison with Traditional Preschool Programs
Robins, Lilia K.
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Traditional schools offer a scheduled, focused environment, usually with the distinct majority of student time spent indoors, which includes many opportunities for children to play and grow. Nature preschools are schools where children spend almost all their school day outside. The nature preschool setting often is within a very large natural environment in a nature center. As compared to traditional schools, nature preschools typically have a more relaxed schedule that allows increased opportunities for hands-on learning. Discipline is similar between the two types of schools, allowing the children to focus on emotions and how they speak to other students. The current study included a total of 140 participants from two differing types of preschools, nature and traditional (Ages 3 – 5 years old; 82 from the nature preschool, 58 from the two traditional preschools). The children were tested at two different time points, first fall and then spring. The children were assessed with three different tests focusing on language and literacy development: Letter Name Knowledge, Letter Sound Knowledge, and the Test of Preschool Early Literacy (TOPEL). The children were found to have no significant differences in measures of literacy and language development when comparing those in the nature school to those in traditional schools.
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