The child’s perspective is important to achieve sustainable development
In order to reach the UN’s global goals for sustainable development, children must receive knowledge and be involved in the various goals early on and already at preschool age. Eva Ärlemalm-Hagsér conducts research in sustainable development in preschools at MDH and is of the opinion that the children's perspective, their participation and influence is a crucial aspect in driving sustainable development in preschools.
“We are living in a time with many global difficulties and challenges of an ecological, socio-cultural and economic nature. Therefore it is imperative that sustainability efforts are conducted at all levels in society. From your local preschool to international policy documents and of course through research at all levels,” says Eva Ärlemalm-Hagsér.
In accordance with the updated preschool curriculum, sustainable development must be part of the preschools’ set of values. Eva Ärlemalm-Hagsér has also co-authored the book ”Researching early childhood education for sustainability: Challenging assumptions and orthodoxies”, and she sees a positive trend in development.
“It is important to introduce children early to new ways of thinking and acting in order to shape a sustainable future. Our research, together with the preschool teacher’s new, clear responsibility for sustainability, can create better prerequisites for children to understand that their own actions can influence the environment and contribute to sustainable development.
The child’s perspective, their participation and influence must drive sustainability efforts
The point of departure is that children are citizens who can influence the development of a sustainable future.
“We must see and understand that all children have rights, skills and the ability to get involved and participate in the efforts to create a sustainable present day and future. All researchers in this research domain of sustainability in preschools, even internationally, are completely in agreement on this subject.
The drive for change must naturally be an adult’s responsibility, but the children’s perspective, their participation and influence must steer sustainability efforts and also be relevant to their experience and understanding,” concludes Eva Ärlemalm-Hagsér.
Sustainability from a child’s perspective – 4 tips from a professor
- Begin on the basis that children as citizens have the ability to influence and create a sustainable future.
- Talk to children about sustainability in a way that ties up with their experience and understanding.
- Answer questions that the children have. Then you will capture the children’s interest and get them involved in something they enjoy.
- Use images as a pedagogical tool to highlight what you are talking about.