This thesis arises out of the need to identify the effect of the state of the environment
on the development of the child. The aim of this research is to progress a step nearer
towards identifying the source of the present ill- fitting relationship between man and
The research focuses on primary school and kindergarten children, the environmental
caretakers of the future. The research data emerged from an interactive process of
participation, which gave the children a voice.
The study focuses on the natural environment and on the built environment as scenes
where learning takes place. A methodology for understanding the child's
environmental perception was developed and applied to three case studies in
Germany, involving children between the ages of three and nine years.
A model of learning was developed explaining the relationship of the child to her
environment and the mode by which knowledge is exchanged between these two. This
was expanded to outline favourable and non -favourable conditions for learning.
Subsequently, a set of variables for measuring the quality of the child's environment
was developed. Recommendations were made concerning the content and
methodology for planning external environments, and for a symbolic and subjective
assessment of the environment, with and for children.