An Analysis of the Views and Experiences of Children Who Are 48-66 Months Old, Their Parents, and Teachers about "Sustainable Development" *

By Yildiz, Tülin Güler; Eren, Saliha et al. | Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri, April 2017 | Go to article overview

An Analysis of the Views and Experiences of Children Who Are 48-66 Months Old, Their Parents, and Teachers about "Sustainable Development" *


Yildiz, Tülin Güler, Eren, Saliha, Simsek, Pinar Özdemir, Aydos, Emine Hande, Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri


Pre-school education should not be regarded as a one-dimensional enterprise. Instead, it complements children's cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and motor development. This goal is clearly expressed in the 2013 pre-school education program issued by the Ministry of National Education in Turkey. In addition, the program quietly emphasizes the importance of children being educated in many varied fields and the concept that they should have multi-dimensional skills. One targeted aspect of multi-dimensional, pre-school education is to make it possible for children to acquire socio-cultural values (Ministry of National Education [MONE], 2013). The pre-school education period is very critical for individuals' holistic development; it is well-established that skills and behaviors gained during this period have effects for life as a whole. Therefore, it is important that from early years children should acquire the needed skills and behaviors.

Sustainable perspective is one of the domains that should be gained in the prechildhood period and should become a habit. In order to achieve sustainable development, the available opportunities of individuals should be taken into consideration and limitations should be known. Some of the gains of sustainability include being a healthy individual, living in a safe environment, and being useful for assisting with the environment, among others (Renton & Butcher, 2010). As a concept, sustainability contains different dimensions, including environment, economics, and society. Those activities which make it possible for children to have gains in sustainable development (SD) knowledge and which make such gains common are very significant (Günay & Oguz, 2012). Hence, one of the significant functions in society must be to assist children in acquiring sustainability-related values, information, and skills (Güler, 2009).

Societies should employ education as a device to make it possible for children to acquire SD-related skills from early years. UNESCO (2008a) reported that education has an important role to play in achieving individual and group sustainable actions. Education for sustainable development (ESD) covers more than the information about environment, economics, and socio-cultural issues. It motivates people to acquire necessary learning skills, perspectives, and values for sustainable life (Renton & Butcher, 2010).

Today it is well-established and commonly accepted that people are facing urgent problems resulting from social and economic developments and local, regional, and global environments. Limited resources in the world have been consumed without replacements being apparent (Siraj-Blatchford, Smith, & Pramling-Samuelsson, 2010). One of the goals of sustainable development is to leave a habitable world for future generations. Sustainable development is defined by the World Commission on Environment and Development (or simply the Brundtland Commission) as a process which plans to meet today's needs without endangering the needs of future generations (Western Cape Education Department [WCED], 1987). The SD is also defined as the continuation of the development of social justice and economical welfare for all people within the limits of the ecology of the world (Güler, 2011). Sustainable Development with its environmental, socio-cultural, and economical pillars should be covered at all educational levels; therefore, ESD should be delivered to children by way of concrete experiences from early years onwards. It can be achieved through a consistent collaboration between teachers, parents, and society (Davis, 1998). However, it is not sufficient to plan and design educational settings for the SD. Instead, teachers should focus on the continuation of it through proper activities and projects to increase individuals' sensitivity and awareness about environmental, socio-cultural, and economical issues (Davis, 2010).

The concept of sustainability requires multidisciplinary study and has many complex interpretations (Berglund & Gericke, 2015; Kayihan & Tönük, 2011). …

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