The purpose of this article is to identify the components and features of a signature pedagogy for sustainability in early childhood education and care to respond to the call for tradition and innovation in early childhood education. Collaborative exploration is proposed as a pedagogical strategy, a relevant mode of action for sustainable practice. This is a conceptual article that recalls the origins of early childhood pedagogy and uses an exemplary empirical narrative from a recent study to illustrate collaborative exploration in an early childhood educational setting. The outlining of the key features of collaborative exploration is furthermore inspired by dialogism. This article provides an argument against mainstream understandings of pedagogical strategies for early childhood education, which are often based on instrumental program approaches, emphasizing the transmission of information in a traditional classroom setting. It is argued that practices of collaborative exploration are embodied in a way that is aligned with the tradition of child-centered early years pedagogy. Moreover, they are crucial to ensuring that all participating children are given responsive support to become members of ecologically, socially and culturally sustainable educational practices, strengthening children’s resilience and agency and inclusive education. The article’s value lies in its potential to support teachers’ thinking and practice in recognizing and articulating collaborative exploration as a signature pedagogy.
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