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Early childhood education for sustainability : why it matters, what it is, and how whole centre action research and systems thinking can help

Davis, Julie M. (2010) Early childhood education for sustainability : why it matters, what it is, and how whole centre action research and systems thinking can help. Journal of Action Research Today in Early Childhood, pp. 35-44.

Abstract

The global financial crisis, global pandemics, global warming and peak oil are indicative of a world facing major environmental, social and economic problems. At the same time, world population continues to rise and global inequalities deepen. Children are the most vulnerable to the impacts of unsustainable living with specific harms arising because of their physical and cognitive vulnerabilities. Nevertheless, children do not have to be victims in the face of these challenges. Education, including early childhood education, has an important role to in building resilience and capabilities in children that equip them as active and informed citizens now and in the future and who are capable of contributing to healthy and sustainable ways of living. Drawing on educational change literature, action research, education for sustainability, health promotion and systems theory, this paper outlines three strategies that can help reorient early childhood education towards sustainability. One strategy is the adoption of whole centre approaches to sustainability and education for sustainability. This means working across the whole of a centre’s operations – curriculum and pedagogy, physical and social environments, its partnerships and community connections. The second strategy – applied in conjunction with the first – is the use of action research to investigate the early childhood setting and to create the desired changes. The third strategy is the adoption of systems thinking as a way of leveraging support and momentum for change so that education for sustainability goes beyond the initiatives of individual teachers and centres, and becomes a systems-wide imperative.

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ID Code: 32257
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional URLs:
Keywords: action research, whole centre change, sustainability, education for sustainability, children as active citizens
ISSN: 9789810856663
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators (130313)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Environmental Education and Extension (050203)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori) (130102)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood
Copyright Owner: Singapore Committee of OMEP (World Organsiation for Early Childhood Education)
Copyright Statement: Copyright for the Special Issue: Singapore Committee of OMEP (World Organsiation for Early Childhood Education)
Deposited On: 17 May 2010 07:18
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2010 10:55

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