AN INVESTIGATION OF THE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT AWARENESS LEVELS OF 60-72-MONTH-OLD CHILDREN
Keywords:Ecological footprint, young children, preschool education, sustainability
Like many other development areas, awareness and attitudes towards environmental issues take shape in early childhood and have an important place in forming positive attitudes and behavior towards the environment in later life. For this reason, sustainability education in early childhood plays an essential role in society’s transition to sustainable lifestyles. This study examines the ecological footprint awareness levels of 60-72-month-old children attending preschool. A total of 266 children (127 girls and 139 boys) enrolled in six schools (one private school, one primary school, and four preschools) in a city in the Aegean region of Turkey. One of the novelties of the study is the use of a game-based survey model, Ecological Footprint Awareness Scale for 60-72-Month-Old Children (EKAY-O), developed by the researchers of this study. Non-parametric tests were applied in the analysis of the data using SPSS 22. Results show that children's awareness of the concept of an ecological footprint was mostly at the medium level (51.5%). Some key findings indicate that their awareness varied significantly depending on the type of school they attended. The students in private schools demonstrated higher performance. Their parents' education levels also had a significant effect on awareness. This study contributes to studies and practices aimed at raising awareness of ecological footprints in preschools, thus aiding the development of collective efforts to minimize the negative impact on the environment to help bring about a sustainable future.
Keywords: Ecological footprint, young children, preschool education, sustainability.
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