At the end of this chapter, you will be able to:
recognise of the imperative of incorporating environmental activities into the early childhood centre
describe how environmental education operates in, about and for the environment
relate how environmental education and science complement each other in early childhood centres
describe ways in which adults can scaffold children's explorations using science as the vehicle through which to inform environmental knowledge
appreciate how settings and activities can enhance children's understanding of the world.
This chapter discusses a growing worldwide concern for the sustainability of our environment and ways in which young children can be provided with explorations of an environmental nature. It embraces the notion that young children can develop empathy for living things, a knowledge of ecosystems and an understanding of the inter-relationships between elements of their environment. Educators can enhance this learning through pedagogy and scaffolding practices.
There is a growing concern worldwide about the ability of our planet to cope with the demands being placed on it for resources and the sustenance of life in the long term. The term ‘education for sustainability’ has become a catchcry of both educators and politicians alike. What does this actually mean? Julie Davis (2010) commented that, ‘… sustainability emphasises the linkages and interdependencies of the social, political, environmental and economic dimensions of human capabilities’ (p. 2).