JSS  Vol.3 No.4 , April 2015
The Impact of an Environmental Educational Program of a School Garden on Pupils with Intellectual Disabilities—A Comparative Approach
ABSTRACT
The following research describes an attempt to combine environmental education through outdoor activities in Special Education. It examines the use of a school garden as a learning environment in Special Education by looking at the stances and opinions of 10 pupils, diagnosed with mild to moderate intellectual disability, towards Environmental Education and prognoses barriers that may occur in the learning process. Specifically, the study focuses on the skills and subject knowledge those students have cultivated through a project called “School Garden”, highlighting the ideas pupils have, regarding the position of environmental education in their school curriculum. Using descriptive statistical analysis to compare the two groups of pupils, this research suggests the further practice of Environmental Education in Special Education. The research took place in two Special Education Primary Schools in Greece, while the data were collected using semi-structured interviews. The main conclusions of the research were that students who participated in their school’s environmental educational program seem to be more familiarized with a range of concepts related to the environment and possess skills linked directly to Environmental Education in relation to their peers that did not engage in the project, while pupils who participated in the “School Garden”, unlike their peers, perceived outdoor activities of their school as part of the learning process, in formal education. This study proposes further research to take place in the area of Environmental Education and Special Education.

Cite this paper
Stavrianos, A. and Spanoudaki, A. (2015) The Impact of an Environmental Educational Program of a School Garden on Pupils with Intellectual Disabilities—A Comparative Approach. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 3, 39-43. doi: 10.4236/jss.2015.34005.
References
[1]   Malone, K. and Tranter, P. (2003) School Grounds as Sites for Learning: Making the Most of Environmental Opportunities. Environmental Education and Research, 9, 283-303. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13504620303459

[2]   Smith, A.G. (2007) Place-Based Education: Breaking through the Constraining Regularities of Public School. Environmental Education Research, 13, 189-207. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13504620701285180

[3]   Metochianakis (2006) Introduction to Pedagogy, B'. Metochianakis, Heraklion.

[4]   Bell, A.C. (2001) The Pedagogical Potential of School Grounds. In: Grant, T. and Littlejohn, G., Eds., Greening School Grounds: Creating Habitats for Learning, New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, 9-11.

[5]   Coffey, A. (2001) Transforming School Grounds. In: Grant, T. and Littlejohn, G., Eds., Greening School Grounds: Creating Habitats for Learning, New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, 2-5.

[6]   Germanos, D. (2001) Space and Teaching Procedures. Gutenberg, Athens.

[7]   Skamp, K. and Bergmann, I. (2001) Facilitating Learnscape Development, Maintenance and Use: Teacher’s Perceptions and Self-Reported Practice. Environmental Education Research, 7, 333-358. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13504620120081241

[8]   Tomas, G. and Loxley, A. (2001) Deconstructing Special Education and Constructing Inclusion. Open University Press, Buckingham.

[9]   Chapman, N. and Pease, L. (2006) Special Environmental Education for the Learning Disabled. Environmental Education and Awareness, 1, 169-188.

[10]   Liarakou, G. (2002) Environmental Education: A Tool for Inclusion of Pupils with Special Needs in Mainstream Education. Sychroni Ekpaideusi, 124, 104-110.

[11]   Kaplan, R. and Kaplan, S. (1989) The Experience of Nature: A Psychological Perspective. Cambridge University Press, New York.

[12]   Bauer, P.J., Dow, G.A., Bittinger, A.A. and Wenner, J.A. (1998) Accepting and Exempting the Unexpected: 30- Month-Olds’ Generalization of Event Knowledge. Cognitive Development, 13, 421-452. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0885-2014(98)90002-8

[13]   Green, M. (2007) Food Gardens: Cultivating a Pedagogy of Place. Gippsland AARE Conference, Monash University, Fremantle.

[14]   Chawla, L. (1994) Gardening as an Initiation into Environmental Action. American Horticulturist, 73, 6-78.

[15]   Lohr, V.I. and Relf, P.D. (2000) An Overview of the Current State of Human Issues in Horticulture in the United States. Hort Technology, 10, 27-33.

[16]   Rivkin, M. (1997) The School Yard Habitat Movement: What It Is and Why Children Need It. Early Childhood Education Journal, 25, 61-66. http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1025694100870

[17]   Kellert, S. (1993) Introduction. In: Kellert, R.S. and Wilson, E.O., Eds., The Biophilia Hypothesis, Island Press/Shearwater, Washington DC.

 
 
Top