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Early childhood education must address climate change, says expert

November 02, 2021

Early childhood education must engage with the problems of the twenty-first century, such as climate change and other ecological challenges.

Educators, parents and researchers will understand how to address these environmental concerns during the Let's Talk Education Community Speaker Series. Professor Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw will discuss ‘Creating Pedagogical Spaces in Early Childhood Education.’ It takes place online via Zoom on Tuesday, Nov. 9 from 7-8 p.m., eastern time. 

Developing early childhood education curriculum that addresses environmental problems allows children to think about the world differently than how previous generations did, said Pacini-Ketchabaw.

“As part of the older generation, we’ve learned to detach ourselves from the world and use it as an object – our relationships with animals, plants, air and water,” said Pacini-Ketchabaw. “I’m interested in creating education where children understand that we are deeply related and always in relation with the environment.”

Pacini-Ketchabaw said children must understand how we depend on the ecological system and how we need to care for it. It’s only when children have this understanding that they can think differently about the world. She added the pandemic has reinforced our dependence on the ecology because it has taught us that we’re vulnerable and we’re not the only ones who live in this world.

What’s more, emphasizing the environment allows children to promote ecological consciousness and ecological justice while moving away from looking at the world as individuals to fostering a collective outlook on life, said Pacini-Ketchabaw.

Let’s Talk Education is a complimentary speaker series open to the general public that shares research and facilitates discussion around important topics in education. This seminar is intended for a general audience and all members of the community are invited to attend. Teachers, parents, and other education system stakeholders are especially encouraged to participate.   

“I hope researchers are exposed to different ways of doing research and how it engages participants and I also hope educators can takeaway ideas that they can expose children to,” said Pacini-Ketchabaw. “Finally, I hope families see there are other ways of educating children that respond to the issues and concerns of the twenty-first century.”

To attend the Let’s Talk Education Community Speaker Series, please register.