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Call for Papers

Early Childhood Care and Education for Sustainable Futures

Guest Editor: Jenny Ritchie, Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington

Manuscript Due Date: 26 September 2020

This special edition of the APJRECE will respond to the challenges of sustainability. Foremost, we are currently experiencing a global pandemic, which has required humans to quickly adapt our behaviours in order to preserve our health. Educators have been at the forefront in providing support to children and families as we grapple with the changed implications of life during the pandemic. Meanwhile, our planet’s environment and biodiversity have benefitted from the decrease in damaging human activities during the period of human withdrawal.

This happens at a time when our planet and all life upon it currently face increasingly alarming impacts of what is now being recognised as a climate emergency (Lenton et al., 2019). Globalised economic and agricultural systems reliant on fossil fuels have exploited the earth generating the escalating planetary crisis. In the Asia Pacific region, sea level rise along with the increased frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones, both of which are caused by global warming, threaten the viability of life on many islands and children are particularly vulnerable in these situations (Lawler, 2011).

Thirty years on from the promulgation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, children and young people around the world have been increasingly vocal in calling the attention of adult decision-makers to the plight of the planet, pointing out that the endangerment and despoliation of the planet’s biosphere is a violation of their right to safe and secure futures (Borter, 2019).

Because children have unique perspectives of their environment, they can be important actors in enhancing community capacity to address climate-related risks. Involving children in the design of policy and designing climate change policies with children’s rights in mind are essential to creating policies that do not have unintended negative consequences. (Lawler, 2011, p. ix).

Indigenous peoples make up only 5% of the world’s population, yet retain guardianship over territory that supports 80% of the planet’s biodiversity (Raygorodetsky, 2018). Indigenous and traditional ecological knowledges are increasingly being recognised for their potential to contribute to a return to sustainable ways of life (Tom, Sumida Huaman, & McCarty, 2019).

As early childhood care and education professionals (teachers, teacher educators and researchers) it is important that we consider the many and varied implications of this sustainability crisis for our field and focus in particular on identifying responsive pedagogical approaches (Davis, 2014; Nolet, 2016). For this special edition we invite papers which make links between local early childhood care and education policy, programmes and practices, and international decrees such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (United Nations, 2007), the Earth Charter (The Earth Charter Initiative, 2000) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (UNESCO, 2017; United Nations General Assembly, 2015). SDG 4.7 requires that all governments:

By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development. (UNESCO, 2017, p. 8)

Some possible areas for consideration for this special edition include:

  • • Creating educational programmes that respond to pandemic conditions
  • Young children’s advocacy for their local places, and/or for addressing climate change
  • Early childhood care and education programmes that emphasise linguistic, cultural and ecological sustainability
  • Indigenous early childhood care and education programmes and practices
  • Sustainability understandings and practices emerging from early childhood care and education services
  • Early childhood care and education that aligns with Education for Sustainable Development pedagogies or focuses on Global Citizenship Education

This special issue welcomes a full range of theoretical and methodological approaches. It particularly welcomes contributions from Indigenous early childhood care and education researchers.

Manuscript review will follow the standard AJPRECE procedures. Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with AJPRECE guidelines available at http://www.pecerajournal.com/?page=4 (Note: Papers lacking APA formatting will not be reviewed). Please note on your cover page that your submission is for the special issue on Early Childhood Care and Education for Sustainable Futures.

Manuscripts should be submitted through the AJPRECE manuscript management site at http://submit.apjrece.newnonmun.com/admin/login.php. Questions regarding this special issue should be directed to Jenny Ritchie at jenny.ritchie@vuw.ac.nz.


  • Manuscript Submissions Due: 26 September 2020
  • Expected Publication Date: 01 January 2021


Borter, G. (2019). Climate change inaction has violated our rights as children, young activists tell world leaders: Retrieved from World Economic Forum https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/09/young-climate-activists-accuse-world-leaders-violating-child-rights/.

Davis, J. (2014). Are we there yet? Early education responding to the challenges of climate disruption and sustainability. Every Child, 20(4), 24-25.

Lawler, J. (2011). Children and climate change. Children’s vulnerability to climate change and disaster impacts in East Asia and the Pacific. Bangkok: UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office. Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org/media/files/Climate_Change_Regional_Report_14_Nov_final.pdf.

Lenton, T. M., Rockström, J., Gaffney, O., Rahmstorf, S., Katherine Richardson, K., Steffen, W., & Schellnhuber, H. J. (2019). Climate tipping points — too risky to bet against. Nature, 575, 592-595.

Nolet, V. (2016). Educating for Sustainability: Principles and practices for teachers. New York: Routledge.

Raygorodetsky, G. (2018). Indigenous peoples defend Earth's biodiversity—but they're in danger. National Geographic, Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/2011/can-indigenous-land-stewardship-protect-biodiversity-/.

The Earth Charter Initiative. (2000). Earth Charter. Costa Rico: The Earth Charter Initiative. Retrieved from http://www.earthcharterinaction.org/content/pages/Read-the-Charter.html.

Tom, M. N., Sumida Huaman, E., & McCarty, T. L. (2019). Indigenous knowledges as vital contributions to sustainability. International Review of Education, 65(1), 1-18. doi: 10.1007/s11159-019-09770-9

UNESCO. (2017). Education for sustainable development goals. Learning objectives. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002474/247444e.pdf.

United Nations. (1989). United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: United Nations. Retrieved from http://www.un-documents.net/crc.htm.

United Nations. (2007). United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A/RES/61/295: General Assembly. Retrieved from www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf

United Nations General Assembly. (2015). Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. New York: United Nations. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1&Lang=E.

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