Analyzing Teacher Narratives in Early Childhood Garden-Based Education

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early childhood, garden education, teacher knowledge


Learning gardens can provide dynamic learning and developmental experiences for young children. This case study of 12 early childhood teachers explores how teachers describe (1) learning across numerous school readiness domains and (2) how to support this learning by promoting opportunities for autonomy, relatedness, and competence. Participants worked at a university-affiliated early education program with a learning garden in the midwestern United States. Data included 19 narrative, photo-elicitation interviews during two growing seasons. Iterative qualitative analyses informed the creation of a Gourd Tee-Pee Model that describes learning across multiple domains and integrates self-determination theory into early childhood garden education. This framework can inform the design and evaluation of early childhood garden education programs.


This article was originally published as Murakami, C. D., Su-Russell, C., & Manfra, L. (2018). Analyzing teacher narratives in early childhood garden-based education. Journal of Environmental Education, 49, 18-29. https://doi.org/10.1080/00958964.2017.1357523