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The contribution of early childhood education to a sustainable society

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United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Samuelsson, Ingrid, and Kaga, Yoshi
Publication Date: 
29 May 2008


"The Contribution of Early Childhood Education to a Sustainable Society" explains how to educate young children with the aim of preventing further degradation of our planet and contributing to a sustainable society where values of human rights, peace and justice are upheld.

The publication argues that as early childhood education is about laying a sound intellectual, psychological, emotional, social and physical foundation, it has an enormous potential in fostering values, attitudes and skills that support sustainable development.

There is a great deal in the traditions of early childhood pedagogies that align with education for sustainability for example, interdisciplinary approach, use of the outdoors for learning and learning through real life projects.

The publication cites concrete case studies and best practices in Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, France, Iceland, Japan, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Sweden and the United Kingdom. For example, 'The Sustainable Planet Project' in an Australian day care centre educates young children on wise use of resources. The water conservation habits learned at the centre are transferred home. "We're only allowed to fill the bath to a certain level and we're not allowed to put the tap on again!" says a parent.

The publication originates from the international workshop 'The Role of Early Childhood Education for a Sustainable Society', held in Göteborg, Sweden, in May 2007, in preparation of 'The World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development &em; Moving into the Second Half of the UN Decade' to be held in Bonn, Germany, from 31 March to 2 April 2009.