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Title: Nature by Default in Early Childhood Education for Sustainability
Contributor(s): Elliott, Sue  (author); Young, Tracy (author)
Publication Date: 2016
DOI: 10.1017/aee.2015.44
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Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 130102 Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori)
130202 Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 390302 Early childhood education
390102 Curriculum and pedagogy theory and development
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 939902 Education and Training Theory and Methodology
930202 Teacher and Instructor Development
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 160302 Pedagogy
160303 Teacher and instructor development
Abstract: This essay critiques the relevance of historical antecedents about children's play in nature and how these historical and political mechanisms create cultural norms and dominant discourses that sustain nature-human dualisms. Provoked by Taylor's (2013) exploration of the pervasive influence of romanticised images of innocent children in nature and our own experiences of never-ending 'nice' stories about young children in nature, here we trouble how nature experiences may or may not preclude children's meaningful and agentic participation in sustainability. We question is engagement with nature, a tangible and easily accessible approach in early childhood education (ECE) promoting a 'nature by default paradigm' and potentially thwarting a fuller transformative engagement with sustainability. Thus, we argue the case for shifting our frames beyond idealised romanticised notions and human-nature dualisms to a 'common worlds' (Haraway, 2008; Latour, 2004; Taylor, 2013) frame guided by collectivist understandings within connective life worlds. Such a shift requires a significant recasting of ethical human-nature understandings and relationships in ECE.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 32(1), p. 57-64
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 2049-775X
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Education

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