New Obligations and Shared Vulnerabilities: Reimagining Sustainability for Live-Able Worlds

  • Narda Nelson University of Victoria Child Care Services, Victoria, BC
  • B. Denise Hodgins University of Victoria Child Care Services
  • Ildikó Danis University of Victoria Child Care Services

Abstract

STEM and sustainability education have become established concepts in what are understood to be progressive Canadian early childhood (EC) programs, often framed as a conduit for building more sustainable futures.  But, how young children learn about ecological systems creates material consequences in the world.  In an action research, inquiry-based study on the West Coast of Canada, we use arts-based collaborative methods and a feminist environmental framework to unsettle the foundational logics continuing to uphold the untenable patterns of living that children are learning to contend with.  Recognizing the importance of promoting livable futures as a central concern to educators, practitioners and researchers in the field, this article invites reflection of the field’s dual obsession with enhancing children’s cognitive development and perpetuating notions of a pure and separate sphere within which childhood is imagined to exist.  It explores the potential of looking within our pedagogies and practices for potential complicities in promoting the very conditions we seek to change.  This research proposes a common worlding approach in early childhood education as a method for shifting anthropocentric understandings about the so-called ‘natural world’ and our place in it.  In particular, it raises concerns with capitalist and colonial values that continue to permeate popularized STEM and sustainability frameworks in North America.

Author Biographies

Narda Nelson, University of Victoria Child Care Services, Victoria, BC
Narda Nelson is a research assistant and pedagogical facilitator at University of Victoria Child Care Services and a member of the Common Worlds Research Collective and the Early Childhood Pedagogies Collaboratory. Drawing on her background in Gender Studies, Narda takes an interdisciplinary approach to early childhood research with a particular focus on reimagining ethical futures with animals, plants, landscape forms and waste flows in early childhoods. 
B. Denise Hodgins, University of Victoria Child Care Services
B. Denise Hodgins is the principal investigator and pedagogist at UVic Child Care Services, the executive director of the Early Childhood Pedagogy Network in BC, a pedagogist consultant with the Provincial Centre of Excellence for Early Years and Child Care in Ontario, and an adjunct assistant professor in the School of Child & Youth Care at UVic.
Ildikó Danis, University of Victoria Child Care Services

Ildikó Danis is an early childhood educator at UVic Child Care Services, and a member of the Common Worlds Research Collective and Early Childhood Pedagogies Collaboratory. She is pursuing her Masters of Education degree in Early Childhood Education at University of Victoria. Her focus on child-material relations and movement pedagogies is motivated by a commitment to attending to stories and events that evolve by chance in the themes of children’s relations with other species, with the material world, and with place. 

Published
2019-11-26
Section
Articles