RELATING THE EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT TO CONTEMPORARY TRANSITION MODELS: COULD BIOPHILIA BE PERCEIVED AS POSITIVE FACTOR OF TRANSITION TO KINDERGARTEN OR SCHOOL?
In the context of Education and Development for Sustainable Development (ESD), there’s a numerous research that suggests that fostering biophilia is one of the ways to encourage eco-awareness, positive values and environmental behaviors toward environment, but also the formation of an ecologically responsible person, a sustainable citizen, and the successful implementation of ESD in educational Institutions and the community.
Our attitude goes beyond the biophilia itself, as a sense of love for nature, plants and animals. We emphasize that the contact of children with nature is not only the area of creating eco-consciousness and more sustainable ways of living but also the foundation for the development of positive forms of emotions and behaviors that welfare of children during transition and their success.
All transition periods in human lives are defines as rather challenging processes that are appear during movement from one environment to another, or from one identity to another. Shortly, they present the periods of intense change which are determined by very different factors: intra-personal and inter-personal factors and their mutual interactions. Contemporary ecological-dynamic model of transition emphasizes the importance of all these factors same as their interrelations over time as crucial determinants of children’s well-being. Final children’s successful adaptation directly depends on the complexity of the interactions between those factors.
One of the contextual factors in the transition period from a family home to kindergarten and from it to school consists of relationships between home-school-peers-neighborhood. In this paper, we particularly want to highlight the importance and impact of environment, i.e. indirect and direct contact of children with the places/grounds and the environment. Studies show that early and direct children’s contact with/in nature, significantly affects their academic success and positive school-based stress management, which is often manifested only at later age. They also emphasize the importance and contribution of the design of educational institutions that possess the natural elements of biophilic design and biophilia on cognitive and emotional development of children. Based on this new theoretical approach, a number of research questions could be highlighted: whether children who are exposed and stimulated early in the creation of biophilia, better adapt during different transitions, especially when transitioning from home to kindergarten and from it to school? Is it possible to objectively measure the impact of contextual factors such as biophilia/biofobia experiences, the places/settings and the design for the transition processes of children? Since the influence of the family is a direct factor in children’s adaptation during transition over time, and influences the relations of the child to the places/setting and the environment, it is of utmost important to identify the feelings/attitudes of bilophilia/biophobia of parents and teachers, as well as factors which significantly more positively facilitate these transition processes, successful adaptation and the overall well-being of children.