Special Issue "Reimagining Early Childhood Education for Social Sustainability in a Future We Want"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 March 2021).
Interests: early childhood teacher education; early childhood; education for sustainability; science didactics; embodied and emplaced learning
Interests: early childhood education; bildung; play and imagination; narrative inquiry; ecological and dialogical approaches; sustainability
Early childhood education has a long tradition of supporting children’s participation in play and development of social skills, creativity, and normative relations. A variety of pedagogical practices that support social sustainability have been developed in early childhood education. Terms like belonging, generation, adults responsibilities and children’s agency, imagination, citizenship, bildung, and normative relationality can help establish a more holistic ecological, socially just, and relational way of creating spaces that encourage an ethic of care for fellow humans, other species, and the planet (Wals, 2017). Sustainability research within education has placed a hegemonic weight on environmental education, while cultural and social aspects have not had the same attention (Boldermo & Ødegaard, 2019; Eizenberg & Jabareen, 2017).
Young children have the right to be secure, included, heard, and followed up with in matters of everyday life, according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (United Nations, 1989). As climate change is expected to increase the frequency of natural disasters, the world we share as global citizens is changing. In our time we are thrown into the largest disruption of education ever, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This leaves researchers, policymakers, parents, and children with a generational opportunity to reimagine education. We have seen that children with disabilities, those in minority or disadvantaged communities, displaced and refugee children and those in remote areas are at highest risk of being affected when a crisis strike. The potential for social exclusion and boundaries due to issues of lack of digital infrastructure, lack of open green places in local neighborhoods, isolation, language barriers, citizenship, and value conflicts is evident and challenges us to address the consequences of a changed world beginning in early years education and care (Boldermo & Ødegaard, 2019; Häggelund & Johansson, 2014; Nutbrown & Clough, 2009; Presthus et al., 2019).
It is time to create a space for research addressing social sustainability for the future we want. The purpose of this Special Issue is to outline how social sustainability can be a thinking tool for new knowledge and understandings that nourish a reimagination of education in a world of trouble. We welcome contributions with entry points such as “belonging”, “generation”, “the role of family”, “the role of local places”, “local and global aspects”, “radical local perspectives” and “explorative and innovative pedagogical ideas and practices”. We aim to elaborate on the development of early childhood educational practices that unite and include children as local and global citizens. Furthermore, we want to explore what practices can enhance children’s belonging in their peer groups, their local places, and local and global communities in a world of trouble.
Social aspects of sustainability include topics such as social justice, citizenship, building of stable social societies, multicultural diversity, and equity. This Special Issue is seeking studies and theoretical perspectives that describe or reimagine pedagogical practices that aim to enhance adults’ responsibilities and children’s belonging and agency in a changing world.
Boldermo, S. & Ødegaard, E. E. (2019). What about the migrant Children? The State-Of-The-Art in Research Claiming Social Sustainability. Sustainability, 11, 459.
Eizenberg, E. & Jabareen, Y. (2017). Social sustainability: A new conceptual framework. Sustainability, 9, 68.
Häggelund, S. & Johansson, E. M. (2014). Belonging, value conflicts and children’s rights in learning for sustainability in early childhood. In J. Davis & S. Elliot (eds.). Research in Early Childhood Education for Sustainability (p. 38-48). Oxon and New York: Routledge.
Heggen, M. P., Sageidet, B. M., Goga, N., Grindheim, L. T., Bergan, V., Krempig, I. W., Utsi, T. Aa. & Lynngård, A. M. (2019). Children as eco-citizens? NORDINA, 15 (4), 387-402.
Nutbrown, C. & Clough, P. (2009). Citizenship and inclusion in the early years: understanding and responding to children’s perspectives on ‘belonging’. Int. J. Early Years Educ., 17(3), 191-206.
United Nations (1989). Convention on the Rights of the Child. Retrieved from https://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx
Wals, A. E. J. (2017). Sustainability by Default: Co-creating Care and Relationality Through Early Childhood Education. International Journal of Early Childhood, 49(2), 155-164.
Dr. Veronica Bergan
Prof. Dr. and Director Elin Eriksen Ødegaard
Dr. Sidsel Boldermo
Manuscript Submission Information
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- education for social sustainability
- reimagining early childhood education