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Essential, Not Optional: Education For Sustainability in Early Childhood Centres

by Sue Elliott
March/April 2010
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/essential-not-optional-education-for-sustainability-in-early-childhood-centres/5019234/

As the impact of humans on the Earth and on its ecological systems that sustain us become more visible — in terms of climate change, resource depletion, and species extinctions — so, too, it is becoming clearer that living sustainably is essential, not optional. To live sustainably requires a mind shift for many people. Education for sustainability is about promoting such a mind shift. ­Bonnett (2004) describes sustainability as a "frame of mind," a frame that impacts on every thought, decision, or action and a frame that is inclusive of social, economic, and environmental perspectives. Education for sustainability is about questioning the way we live, the impacts we create as a unique part of Earth's systems, and about creatively thinking of ways to live more lightly on the Earth. But, can this happen in early childhood centres? And why is it essential to begin in early childhood?

Sustainability in the early childhood sector

Davis (2009) states that internationally, over recent decades, the early childhood sector has been slower than other education sectors to engage with education for sustainability. The pace, however, is quickening and in the last few years several publications have described how early childhood centres are engaging with education for sustainability ...

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