Fostering Eco-Cultural Literacies for Social, Cultural and Ecological Justice: A Perspective From Aotearoa (New Zealand)

2020-07-30T00:31:42Z (GMT) by Jenny Ritchie
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Pedagogies that reflect the eco-cultural literacies of local Indigenous peoples have potential to foster young children’s empathy for our planet as well as for other humans and for more-than-human kin such as mountains, rivers, forests, plants, fish, insects and animals. This article explores some ways in which early years educators can implement pedagogical strategies that encompass the eco-cultural literacies of local Indigenous peoples. These pedagogical strategies are illustrated through data gathered from children, teachers and families in two early childhood centres that participated in a wider study of early childhood care and education settings in Aotearoa (New Zealand). The data show how these pedagogical approaches can generate dispositions of respect and restraint with regard to use of resources whilst introducing children to traditional Indigenous sustainability practices. Eco-cultural literacies provide a counter-narrative to dominant discourses that perpetuate the exploitation of our planet and her resources whilst confining the focus of education to predetermined, narrow literacy and numeracy standards. In drawing upon ancient wisdoms, there are implications for how early childhood care and education settings internationally can engage in localised eco-cultural literacies that offer hope for sustainable futures.