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OMEP-UK Early Childhood Education for Sustainable Citizenship Award

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Sustainable Development means making our decisions today so that they; ‘meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.  The subject is therefore all about the future needs and well-being of preschool children.

Education for sustainable development presents humankind (as a species) as interdependent with the natural world, recognising that the plants and animals around us live in an ecological balance, and that we are also interdependent with each other, as individuals, as groups, cultures, and as nations.  In terms of early childhood development and learning, our understanding of interdependency begins with our learning about ourselves, and about how we respect and care for each other and the wider environment.

From September 2019, the UK chapter of the World Organisation for Early Childhood Education (the Organisation Mondiale pour l’Education Préscolaire)(OMEP) will be offering early childhood education and care providers the opportunity to apply for an Education for Sustainable Citizenship (ESC) Award.  This OMEP-UK scheme has been developed to support a wide range of early childhood education providers including childminders, preschools, and nurseries who are already working with parents in supporting the objectives of Education for Sustainable Development in early childhood.  The associated resources and training materials offer an optimistic, and pro-active approach to the subject that celebrates sustainable achievements and innovations and encourages children to feel themselves involved in the creation of a more sustainable future.

The scheme is organised around an OMEP ‘ESC Passport’ that is provided for each child. The passport will provide discounted entry to wildlife conservation parks and other related community resources and services.  Each child is able to collect up to 15 award stickers for entry into their passport, and these show their ESC achievements at Bronze, Silver and Gold level.  To be awarded each sticker, parents and preschool practitioners work together to support the child in completing educational activities that range from the identification three wild birds, the identification of wildlife habitats, to the recycling of waste materials, and the recognition of cultural and linguistic diversity. The activities are set at an appropriate level for the age group, they are based upon commonly available environmental resources, and provide the foundations of an education for sustainable citizenship that addresses all aspects of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

SchemaPlay are offering accredited training for experienced independent early years trainers and support staff so that they can work with settings in achieving the Award.  As it has been developed here, Education for Sustainable Citizenship should not be seen as a curriculum add-on or an additional commitment: ESC provides a highly motivating new perspective in early childhood with really transformational potential.  Experience has shown that the activities and experiences of ESC improve learning outcomes and wellbeing right across the curriculum, the setting and the wider community.

To learn more about the OMEP initiative and about the training that SchemaPlay are providing, we invite you to attend the SchemaPlay National Conference in Walsall on May 1st: http://www.schemaplay.com/sp2019.html

Make your decision to attend today, and contribute towards a more sustainable tomorrow.  Further information can be found on the SchemaPlay website: http://www.schemaplay.com

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Campaign to save Lemurs

Please support the 180 preschool children in Kent who are currently campaigning as sustainable citizens for the protection of their wildlife heritage and for the Lemurs of Madagascar. In the process they are learning to care for the natural world and they are learning that they can contribute towards protecting it. Resources and strategies have been developed that introduce the children to the roles of Wildlife Rangers who are employed to take care of the Lemurs. The children will engage in socio-dramatic play acting out the roles of Lemurs and Wildlife Rangers.  Radio telemetry equipment is being used to show them how the Rangers will win (with the funding provided) in their game of ‘hide and seek’ and how they will be able to protect the animals. Later the children will learn that celebrity animals like the Lemurs are an integral part of complex local ecosystems and that their loss has implications for countless other natural species who share their habitat. It may be some years before they fully understand the importance of biodiversity and of the actions that they are taking, but for now they are all exercising their Right as identified in the UN Convention to have a voice on all matters that materially affect them. They are learning to care about the natural world and they are learning that they can take action to protect it. Please support them. A campaign poster made up of all the children’s faces is available for download HERE. Please print it out and display – lets show them that we all support them. For more information see: http://www.schemaplay.com/Kent.html

Yagi2s  poster3

 

 

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New Book: International Research on Education for Sustainable Development in Early Childhood

Just published by Springer

book

This book offers a perspective on Education for Sustainable Development in Early Childhood (ESDEC) that is far removed from the ‘business as usual’ notion of an extended, predominantly environmental, educational curriculum for preschools. It presents a vision of sustainable development that has relevance to Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) from birth to school; it is relevant as much to homes, family support and health settings as it is to educational settings, and is as much concerned with health and wellbeing as with education. The book provides a perspective that is fundamentally embedded in notions of interdependency. It places an emphasis upon the importance of recognising the interdependency of peoples within and between nation states; the ecological interdependencies of the natural world; of humanity and nature; and most significantly the interdependency of adults and children. These emphases have their origins in the grassroots studies included in the ten chapters representing countries from around the world. The book reflects the idea that only global solutions and initiatives are capable of addressing the global challenges of climate change, environmental pollution, and global threats to ecological systems and biodiversity.

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Siraj-Blatchford, J., Park, E. and Mogharreban, C. (Eds.) (2016) International Research on Education for Sustainable Development in Early Childhood, Springer

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Update on UN Envoy for Global Education

We reported on Gordon Brown being appointed UN Envoy for Global Education in 2012. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have now established Target 4.2 to: ensure that by 2030 “all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education”. Brown is now Chair of the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity and the following extracts are from the preface of this committee’s latest report where Brown argues that securing every child the right to education “is the civil rights struggle of our generation.”

“As we show in this report, education – especially the education of girls – is a catalyst for cutting child and maternal deaths, and lifting people out of poverty. Investing early and sufficiently, including everyone, and leveraging synergies with other sectors is the best way to reap the benefits of education.”

“…we call for new action to ensure that all countries – developing and development partners – are held accountable for meeting their responsibilities to children, and for the United Nations to scrutinize countries’ educational advancement and draw attention to any who are failing to invest and improve.”

Recommendation III of the report on Inclusion suggests that the early years are prioritised; “where social returns are highest” (p10) and the report also recommends:

“…particular investment in early childhood development and in services for adolescent girls, which can deliver strong complementary health and education benefits” (p10)