Entry for:150 Years of Discovery: Emerging Research
1. Please provide a brief summary of your video and research.
Historically, New Zealand has a longstanding relationship with animals. New Zealand's early economy is very closely tied to animal agriculture and unsurprisingly, animal related activities have become weaved into the social fabric of this country. Needless to say, children are often involved in some form of animal interaction, from helping out in farms or looking after lambs and calves, to having a multitude of pets at home, to engaging in fishing and hunting activities. However, despite the exposure children have to animals on a regular basis, little is known about how and what shapes these interactions children have with animals.
My research explores how children's environments shape their thinking and empathy towards animals. I explore how the interactions between children and adults in different socio-cultural backgrounds shape their relationships with animals. To investigate this, I collected data from three early childhood centres across the Waikato region, with centres ranging from an urban context to a rural dairying community.
I collected data mainly through observations in early childhood centres where I audio and video recorded children's interactions with their teachers and animals on the premises. I also gave each participating child and iPod to take pictures of animals they encounter in their daily lives. Finally, I interviewed teachers and parents. These parents came from a wide range of backgrounds from scientists to dairy farmers and provided an important context for children's interactions with animals.
This research will help to shed light into the influences that shape children's thinking and empathy towards animals. As one of the first few studies in New Zealand, I hope that this study will be a first step in many more research that investigates our relationships with animals. I also hope that the results of this study can help in creating humane education materials for young children.
2. Do you have a video hashtag for sharing via twitter?
#animalempathy #interactions #EMCA