Raising Awareness of Urban Environment Development in Primary Schools

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In the past few years, excessive efforts have been made to increase the city’s attractiveness and its international positioning. Also studies on the so-called city destination branding are on the rise. Theorists, as Ramirez (2001), Marzano and Scott (2009), among many others, are discussing different aspects of this complex process. Many approaches and strategies are dealing with the positioning of urban environments and city destinations, trying to provide at least some partial answers about achieving this objective. With proper marketing and branding, cities can do a lot to attract tourists and visitors. For successful city marketing and branding and for the successful long-term positioning of the destination in general, it is necessary to involve the key stakeholders and collaborate with as many as possible despite the fact that the branding of a city destination (or any destination for that matter) is a complex process. It is significant that all the stakeholders, who are always carriers of different interests, are invited to collaborate in the planning of the tourism development and tourism development strategies, from the government, the private sector, schools etc. It is also important to involve the citizens, who can provide a valuable opinion about the environment they live in – what they like about their environment, what suggestion would they give to tourists about gastronomy, attractions, shops, events, etc. It is significant that citizens are proud of their urban environment, that they know their own environment, and that they have the motivation for the involvement in the process of improvement of their home environment (through projects, discussions, etc.). It is impossible to create attractive urban environments or cities if residents do not have a positive opinion about the place they live in. That is why it is essential for the education institutions at all levels, but especially for the institutions at the primary levels to educate children, toddlers, pupils, students, about the importance of urban environment development and create a positive learning environment, where children are able to develop as residents with a great understanding of the potential of the environment they live in. The paper explores the importance of raising awareness of the urban environment in primary schools from the theoretical, analytical and practical point of views. In the paper, we will examine whether primary schools in the city of Maribor, Slovenia educate children about their urban environment, if they are creating positive learning environments, where children can develop into proud citizens aware of the significance of the urban environment and its consequences for the quality of their lives. Further on, the curricula in chosen primary schools in Maribor is going to be analyzed. With the survey, we will try to identify the degree of children’s awareness of their surrounding urban environment, the information they receive about their environment, and their attitude towards it. And finally, what is most important, we will try to show the extreme significance of the learning environment and the curricula for raising the awareness of the environment and growing into responsible adults who will also act responsibly towards their urban environments.

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