Sometimes Birds Sound like Fish: Perspectives on Children’s Place Experiences

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Over the past few years, studies of children's environments have increasingly recognized the variation in children's experiences in shaping their learning, social development, and play (Holloway and Valentine, 2000; Matthews et al., 2000a; Matthews et al., 2000b; Punch, 2000). These studies remind us that children who grow up within a particular physical environment will not all share the same experiences or emotional responses to a place. Punch (2000) emphasizes that children themselves play a significant role in shaping their own experiences even within similar physical and social environments. With the recognition that children shape their own place experiences has come a growing number of studies with children in urban environments (Berg and Medrich, 1980; Katz, 1993; Kong, 2000; Lynch, 1997; Moore, 1986; Ward, 1978), rural environments (Derr, 2001; Hart, 1979; Jones, 2000; Matthews et al., 2000a; Nabhan and St Antoine, 1993; Punch, 2000; Sobel, 1993; Ward, 1990), and within a variety of cultural contexts (Beazley, 2000; Derr, 2001; Katz, 1993; Kong, 2000; Matthews, 1995; Punch, 2000; Robson, 1996). As this body of literature continues to grow, some trends emerge as to the importance of these places in children's development. In this chapter I develop these trends through a framework that emerged from my own research with children, aged nine to eleven, living in rural and urban towns of northern New Mexico in the United States.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationChildren and Their Environments: Learning, Using and Designing Spaces
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Environmental Studies

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