A critical analysis of concepts associated with sustainability in early childhood curriculum frameworks across five national contexts
journal contributionposted on 2023-04-06, 02:25 authored by Kassahun Weldemariam, Diane Boyd, Nicky Hirst, Barbara Maria Sageidet, Jamison K Browder, Leanne Grogan, Fran Hughes
Curriculum frameworks have an important role in providing guidance to early childhood practitioners on how to integrate knowledge about sustainability into their practice. This article examines how ideas about sustainability are integrated in the early childhood curricula for Australia, England, Norway, Sweden and the USA. The analyses were guided by critical inquiry and a cross-national dialogue and focused on four aspects of the curricula: sustainability presence, views of the child, human–environment relationship and philosophical/theoretical underpinnings on ideas expressed about sustainability. Ideas about sustainability were more implicitly present than explicitly stated in most curricula. It was not evident that children were viewed as world citizens with agency to help foster sustainability. With respect to human–environmental relationship, the framework from Australia expressed greater reciprocity and entanglement, while other frameworks were more anthropocentric despite the variation among curricula. All five frameworks embodied a sociocultural, human development approach with respect to the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings. There is a need to consider alternative frameworks that offer broader and more inclusive worldviews about sustainability that includes embracing human, non-human and other species within an assemblage of common worlds.