Notions of wellbeing and interdependence embedded within ecologically sustainable early childhood pedagogies in Aotearoa
Citation:Ritchie, J. (2010, May). Notions of wellbeing and interdependence embedded within ecologically sustainable early childhood pedagogies in Aotearoa. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Denver, CO.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1487
Through the growing international concern regarding the impacts of environmental degradation and the depletion and exploitation of natural resources on our planet’s wellbeing, we are being challenged as individuals and educators as to how we can change our practices and pedagogies in order to replenish and protect our planet. This can be seen to require a shift away from an individualistic paradigm to one which recognises our inter-subjectivity, interdependence, inter-connectedness and inter-relatedness as planetary beings, members of a shared woven universe (Marsden, 2003). This is a worldview that has been upheld by indigenous people despite the impacts of colonisation (Cardinal, 2001; Haig-Brown & Dannenmann, 2002; J. Patterson, 2000). For the Māori, the indigenous people of Aotearoa/New Zealand, “the spiritual unity of the child with the land, with its people, and with the Universe at large is as one” (Reedy, 1995). In Western discourses also there has been growing awareness of a need to prioritise an ethic of care based in recognition of the interdependent nature of individual and collective wellbeing within our academic and professional discourses and enactment (Foucault, 1997; Gilligan, 1982; Noddings, 1995; Rinaldi, 2006). This paper reports on a New Zealand study conducted during 2008-9, which employed a synthesis of narrative and kaupapa Māori methodologies (Clandinin, 2007; L. T. Smith, 1999) to illuminate transformative early childhood discourses and pedagogies that reflect both Māori and Western ecological understandings. The focus of this study has relevance towards enacting “an ethic of global caring” generated within early years education (Said, 1993, p. 21).