Sustainability Special Interest Group Position Paper launch

Posted 2nd October 2023

Following an incredibly well attended EECERA Annual Conference in Cascais, Portugal in August with 1100+ delegates from across the world, on behalf of the EECERA Board of Trustees I am delighted to announce the ratification and launch of a brand new, and vitally important EECERA Position Paper on Sustainability. 

SIG meeting at the EECERA 2023 in Cascais.

At the conference we noted that these last years have been relentless in the challenges we collectively face – the continuing COVID pandemic, climate change, economic downturn, population displacements on a massive scale and, shockingly, the continued war within Europe and continuing conflicts globally. We acknowledged that the accelerating scale and pace of these events demand that action to tackle them becomes ever more urgent as their environmental and humanitarian impact becomes ever clearer. We noted that these exceptional challenges require every one of us to respond with generosity, solidarity, collective action, partnerships and determination, if we are to progress. These are all crises in which sustainability considerations are centrally placed.

At EECERA we are taking the concept of sustainability very seriously, and working hard to become a more sustainable organisation in all its interpretations. Our EECERA Special Interest Group (SIG) on Sustainability was invited to create a Position Paper to encourage us, and our wider research community, to bring these key issues into our thinking and actions in order to create a transformative sustainability agenda for early childhood.

The resulting Position Paper was created by the SIG Co-Convenors: Sule Alici, Eva Ärlemalm-Hagsér, Fabio Dovigo and Sue Elliott and the Working Group Members: Mandy Andrews, Maria Assunção Folque, Fabio Dovigo, Sue Elliott, Nicola Kemp, Jayne Kinley and Muireann Ranta, and launched at the conference. It was described by delegates as  ‘a tour de force’ and  ‘a triumph, so timely, educational, and comprehensive’.

As the SIG states, “Our EECERA Sustainability SIG draws on current evidence to offer a stance about sustainability in early childhood education and resolutions for moving forward to secure children’s present wellbeing and futures in uncertain global times. We are concerned that the voices of young children, their parents/carers and early childhood practitioners are often overlooked, particularly in relation to issues of global scope and significance. We seek to raise the profile of early childhood education in this arena and draw on and extend both children and practitioners’ knowledges and skills about sustainability.

The authors commented:

“Being part of the process of designing this position statement was a privilege to work collaboratively in an exercise of scholar synthesis in such a complex and multidimensional theme within global citizenship. This position statement can act internally to EECERA members and academic community as a pivotal reference that permeates and inspires research and practices in Early childhood Education and externally highlighting the fundamental role of ECE in (re)thinking and (re)constructing a ‘possible’ world.”   

Maria Assunção Folque, Assistant Professor at the Department of Pedagogy and Education, University of Évora, Portugal

“‘The intersection of global sustainability and early childhood education is a critical one, becoming more pressing every day as young children have the most to lose through climate change. This position statement offers a clear reference point for local, national and international organisations and associations across the early childhood education field. Promoting sustainable, healthy and just futures for all children is a mandate for everyone involved in early childhood education.” 

Dr Sue Elliott, Adjunct Senior Lecturer Early Childhood Education, University of New England, Australia and Visiting Scholar, University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.

We would encourage you to read the paper carefully, share it widely, and think what actions might take forward the ideas presented.

As the theme of next year’s EECERA conference in Brighton is to be Sustainability, this position paper will be a firm foundation for our EECERA community to build upon.

Do let us know if we can support your initiatives in this critical arena further.

Chris Pascal, EECERA President

Scroll to Top