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Exploring the resistance: An Australian perspective on educating for sustainability in early childhood

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Climate change and sustainability are issues of global significance. While other education sectors have implemented education for sustainability for many years, the early childhood sector has been slow to take up this challenge. This position paper poses the question: Why has this sector been so slow to engage with sustainability? Explanations are proposed based on a review of research literature and the authors’ long engagement in seeking to bring early childhood education and education for sustainability together. The imperative is for the early childhood sector to engage in education for sustainability without delay and to ‘get active’ for a sustainable future.


Les changements climatiques et le développement durable sont chargés d’une signification globale. Alors que d’autres secteurs de l’éducation se sont impliqués dans l’éducation au développement durable depuis plusieurs années, celui réservé à la petite enfance a tardé à relever le défi. La question que pose cet article est: Pourquoi ce secteur a pris tant de temps à s’engager vis-à-vis le développement durable? Des explications sont proposées sur la base d’une revue de la recherche et de l’engagement des auteurs qui tentent de réunir l’éducation de la petite enfance et l’éducation pour le développement durable. Il est impératif que le secteur de la petite enfance s’engage dans l’éducation pour le développement durable sans délai et qu’il demeure alerte dans le futur.


El cambio climático y la sustentabilidad son cuestiones de importancia global. Mientras que otros sectores educativos han implementado la educación para la sustentabilidad hace muchos años, el sector de la temprana infancia ha sido lento en asumir este desafio. Este trabajo plantea la siguiente cuestión: ¿Por qué este sector sido tan lento para comprometerse con la sustentabilidad? Las explicaciones que se proponen han sido basadas en un estudio de investigación literaria y el largo compromiso del autor buscando unir la educación de la temprana infancia con la educación para la sustentabilidad. El imperativo es que el sector de la temprana infancia se comprometa con la educación para la sustentabilidad sin más demora y se plantee activamente por un futuro sustentable.

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Correspondence to Sue Elliott or Julie Davis.

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Elliott, S., Davis, J. Exploring the resistance: An Australian perspective on educating for sustainability in early childhood. IJEC 41, 65–77 (2009).

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