Making 'place' for ecological sustainability in early childhood

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Culturally, childhood is often understood as a time of innocence which can mean that issues such as ecological sustainability are considered too problematic for early childhood practice. By drawing on findings from a research project that focused on issues of ecological sustainability in early childhood centres in New Zealand from Western and indigenous perspectives, this article contributes a critical perspective of ecological sustainability as an educational issues in early childhood education (ECE). The article falls into two parts: the first section gives an overview of some of the conceptual and theoretical issues that underpins critical perspectives of childhood, and provides a context for current global ECE discourse, while the second section introduces the research project and discusses the intersections of 'local' and 'global' in light of teachers' emerging 'pedagogies of place'. The intent is to demonstrate that critical engagement with such complex global issues as ecological sustainability generates spaces for new understandings of how ECE can contribute to theory and practice of education for sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironmental education
Subtitle of host publicationCritical concepts in the environment
EditorsAlan Reid, Justin Dillon
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9780415520256
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Sustainability and education
  • early childhood
  • Indigenous ecological knowledge

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