Cross-curricular integration is a teaching method, which strives for a comprehensive and lasting knowledge in a child-friendly and natural way, where the child acquires not only knowledge but also the skills of developing new models, structures and systems. It is a holistic didactic approach that includes integration of know-how, contents and skills with the knowledge acquired in other subjects, meaning with previously acquired know-how and topical events. The application of cross-curricular integration with mountain excursions is not very frequent although one of the goals of mountain excursions is for teachers not to be restricted only to the sports-related goals of hiking, touring and mountain climbing but to also include goals from other subject fields that logically complement those from the field of sports.
The purpose of the Master’s thesis is therefore to present the application of cross-curricular integration in class and on mountain excursions in the first education period of elementary school. In the first part of the research, we have examined how frequently the teachers of the first three grades of elementary school plan and implement cross-curricular integration in class and on mountain excursions and how important they deem it. In the second part of the research, we submitted the teachers of the first educational period of elementary schools Tolmin, Kobarid and Most na Soči proposals for including cross-curricular integration into the programme of mountain excursions in the Tolmin area in western Slovenia, and conducted a survey among teachers to check their opinion.
In the theoretical part, we presented the importance of mountain excursions for 1-3 graders, the goals we wish to achieve on mountain excursions and the entire course of a mountain excursion, including the preparations for a mountain excursion, its implementation, the role of the teacher on mountain excursions and the importance of proper equipment and food. We also presented and defined cross-curricular integration, presented the reasons for the use of cross-curricular references and ways to plan them, and the usefulness of cross-curricular references on mountain excursion.
In the empirical part of the Master’s thesis, we presented the quantitative research. The causal-nonexperimental and descriptive statistical methods of pedagogical research were applied. Data was acquired from a poll among teachers teaching in the first educational period of elementary school.
The research has to a large extent confirmed our expectations. Most of the participating teachers believe they have acquired enough know-how about cross-curriculum integration during their formal education and they only occasionally attend additional workshops on cross-curriculum integration. Most of the teachers surveyed use cross-curriculum integration on a weekly basis and apply its principles spontaneously or according to their plans in line with the goals and contents of a shorter period. Results have shown that most teachers agree that planning and applying cross-curriculum integration is important and has positive effects. Most teachers include cross-curriculum integration in their programme for mountain excursions, but they include it in their plans and realisation only occasionally. Most frequently, teachers make cross-references between mountain excursions and nature study. We have also found that teachers of lower grades teaching in the first educational period of elementary schools in Tolminsko have a positive opinion of the prepared examples of mountain excursions with cross-curricula integration.
The results have revealed the level of teachers’ acquaintance and usage of cross-curriculum integration in the first educational period of elementary schools in Tolminsko and shown their opinion on the usefulness of such references on mountain excursions. The results could be used as guidelines for better planning and applying cross-curriculum integration in classes and on mountain excursions.