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Respect for Nature ? A Prescription for Developing Environmental Awareness in Preschool

Journal: Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal (Vol.3, No. 1)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 025-044

Keywords : Early childhood education; Education for sustainability; Environmental ethics; Critical theory;

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Embedded in the notion of sustainability lies a striving for an environmentally sustainable world and respect and care for the non-human world, as well as efforts to establish social, economic and political justice for all people. This paper deals with education for sustainability in Swedish pre-schools from two perspectives: first, the views held concerning the relationship between human beings and nature; second, young children’s participation and agency. The theoretical underpinning is informed by critical theory with a case study approach. The empirical material is derived from 21 applications, which were from Swedish preschools to be certified with ?The Diploma of Excellence in Sustainable Development? (Swedish National Agency for Education). The main findings show that few critical questions are raised about the human-nature relationship in the applications, even though views concerning the connectedness with, and care and respect for the natural world are emphasised. Children’s participation and agency are neglected in a structure of ready-made views, activities and working methods already imbedded in the current pedagogical practices. Implications for research and practice would be to further explore how the understandings of the relationship between humans and nature are constructed within early childhood education.

Last modified: 2013-05-08 17:57:40