Young Maltese children have experience and knowledge of animals. We explored the range of animal with which they are familiar and the origin of this knowledge. The children interviewed were in Pre School, aged 4 years, and in the first year of compulsory education, aged 5 years Verb l questions and photographs were used as the probe to access understanding and the sources of their learning. Different questions explored different concepts – effectively three groupings, animal knowledge, habitats, and source of knowledge. The animals photographed were from three areas that were established as popular with children, namely: pets usually found in homes, familiar animals such as farm animals and wild animals. Reduced sized colored photographs of the animals were used as a cue to encourage children to talk Children recounted instances where they have met animal pictures printed on books, charts and posters. The majority of children were familiar with the selected animals. Apart from the animals shown on the photo cards the children were able to mention a range of other animals the animals mentioned include a range of animals that are not found locally. The most two popular animals children mentioned were the tiger and the lion. Results show that these children possess a high sense of observing detail and interpreting visual material. They mentioned other materials where they have encountered animals, including toys, clothes, blankets, pillows and school stationery and often mentioned their favorite animal characters from the media.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.