Children's Literature: A Gateway to Sustainability




Jones, Marnice

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We are now in a time when global consumption and production levels have surpassed the Earth’s sustainable carrying capacity. There have been several national and international appeals to find ways to sustain the Earth for this generation and those that follow. An essential premise of this capstone is that education can play a key role towards sustainability by embedding education for sustainability into curricula. In order to accomplish this educators require a better understanding of education for sustainability and must move beyond the narrow focus of science based environmental education. Situated in the wider discussion about sustainability it was ascertained that children’s literature can act as a low barrier entry point for educators to introduce the concept of sustainability. Stories that present a positive outlook, balanced and factual information, provide appropriate steps for action and view children as capable citizens are essential elements of quality children’s literature in this field. Supportive practices of classroom discussion, dialogic reading, drama and storytelling may be required to further the understanding of how ecological concerns are linked to human rights and social justice and the ways degradation of the environment affects human communities. An outcome of the project was the creation of a children’s story that utilizes the strengths of both fiction and non-fiction and integrates the essential elements identified in the literature. This story can be applied to the academic disciplines of science, social studies, environmental education and education for sustainability.



sustainability, environment, education, children’s literature, stories