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Education for sustainability in transition of children from early childood education to primary school

This study examined the understandings gained by young children from education for sustainability experiences in their early childhood education and their actions and behaviours related to sustainability in their later years. Furthermore, the study investigated what environmental knowledge and behaviours were transferred across spaces and time, and what affordances make this possible and what constrains the process. The Aotearoa New Zealand early childhood curriculum, Te Whaariki (1996) and the New Zealand Curriculum (2007) were considered in terms of education for sustainability and their place in the transference of knowledge across spaces. This was a qualitative, in-depth case study which examined the teaching and learning experiences for a group of students, (aged 5 -7 years) from one early childhood centre and their subsequent use of knowledge and behaviours at two primary schools in the Canterbury region of New Zealand. The data was collected from interviews and focus groups with student participants, teachers (both early childhood and primary) and written surveys by parents/whanau. In the student focus groups the student participants were shown a range of photographs of environmental activities or areas of interest from the early childhood centre they attended prior to enrolling at primary school, as a catalyst for recall and prompt for discussion. A number of significant findings emerged from this study. For example; this study demonstrated that the student participants were identifying with tangible objects and resources around education for sustainability; therefore potentially these had a strong influence on their knowledge and practices. A number of affordances influenced this outcome, for example; pedagogical approaches and the interconnected relationships between the child, the family, the early childhood centre and the school. Finally the study has identified that an encompassing, holistic approach and the influence of home, the early childhood centre and primary school influences children’s developing environmental competencies and ultimately the development of their identity. This study identified that with an alignment of affordances young children were demonstrating thinking and actions from the dimension of education for the environment and were beginning to develop action competence.  
Type of thesis
Biss, T. E. (2012). Education for sustainability in transition of children from early childood education to primary school (Thesis, Master of Education (MEd)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/7026
University of Waikato
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