Fostering communities for ecological sustainability within early childhood education
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Citation:Ritchie, J. (2010). Fostering communities for ecological sustainability within early childhood education. Early Education, 10, 10-14.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1901
We are now at the half-way point of the UNESCO decade for education for sustainable development, promulgated in recognition of the seriousness of the global climate crisis, and positioning educators as potential leaders in generating the cultural changes needed to address this crisis (UNESCO, 2005). This article reports on one key focus of a recent study, ‘Titiro Whakamuri, Hoki Whakamua. We are the future, the present and the past: caring for self, others and the environment in early years’ teaching and learning’, which had the aim of investigating how centres can work with their local communities in fostering ecologically sustainable practices. This project utilised a philosophical framework grounded in kaupapa Māori notions such as manaakitanga (caring) and kaitiakitanga (stewardship), along with an ethic of care (Noddings, 2005). The work of teachers from ten early childhood centres produced evidence of teachers proactively raising awareness amongst tamariki and whānau of strategies for caring for our environment, and ways in which this extended more broadly into their communities, some of which are described below.