Sustainability in Early Childhood Education

  • Overview

Convenor:

Eva Ärlemalm-Hagsér, Mälardalen University, Sweden
Ann-Christin Furu, University of Helsinki, Finland
Sue Elliott, University of New England, Australia

Purpose

The aim of this SIG-group is to develop a space for networking and to encourage cross-national research and perspectives in the field of early childhood education for sustainability. The research agenda focuses on ways of understanding how young children are recognised as, and learn to be, active citizens for sustainability. Sustainability refers here to the interlinked social, economic, natural and political dimensions defined by UNESCO (2010), and these must underpin all decision-making for equitable global futures.

Proposed SIG activity

In the last 10 years, the field of early childhood education for sustainability has strongly emerged as evident in the chronology listed by Davis and Elliott (2014). The need for formal places and spaces for researchers to meet and collaborate has become increasingly evident. As EECERA is an international organisation gathering researchers in the field of Early Childhood Education we are confident that by seeking a platform within EECERA, research initiatives in sustainability will be further developed. Increased research opportunities in various forms such as joint conference presentations, international research collaborations and co-authored publications are envisaged. A key aspect to consolidating this field of research is to broaden the theoretical and methodological perspectives shared and to incorporate multiple international socio-cultural lenses. A SIG platform within EECERA creates opportunities to progress this broader agenda and engage others. We share these organisational priorities at a time when global climate change is increasing and cannot be ignored as a compelling issue for children’s futures. Actions to mitigate climate change through both early childhood education research and practice are much needed. Aligned international policies with import for early childhood education and education for sustainability are The UN Global Action Programme (GAP) and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) (UNESCO, 2017). These policies are integrated with the dimensions of sustainability and offer a global action plan for developing a sustainable world. The SDG’s, in particular, are far reaching and highlight that global sustainability is not to be achieved by an environmental or human poverty focus alone. The GAP and SDG’s are integral to a globally transformative agenda and the SIG collaborative research and publication initiatives will strongly support this agenda.

First Year:

  • organise one or more self-organised symposia at the next EECERA Conference
  • conduct SIG meetings at each EECERA Conference
  • develop collaborative research projects
  • write collaborative SIG papers for the EECERJ
  • edit a special sustainability issue of EECERJ