Exposing children to concepts about sustainable development (SD) can be challenging because children might lack the life experience and the right levels of linguistic and cognitive skills to understand the complex issues surrounding SD. Coupled with other factors such as the teacher’s professional knowledge and limited teaching time available, the teaching of SD might become operationalised as the sorting of waste products into different types of bins in the early childhood curriculum. Using a single case study, I examined how a Hong Kong kindergarten empowered young children to contribute to sustainable development through targeting the production and consumption of an object type that is readily understood by children: toys. Based on classroom observations involving three age groups (K1: three-year-olds; K2: four-year-olds; K3: five-year-olds) and interviews with the principal, I found that the school had creatively adopted a whole school approach in order to support children’s gradual learning about sustainable development. At K1 the focus was on refusal: avoiding plastic toys in learning activities. At K2 the focus was on reuse. Knowledge related to the responsible production and consumption of toys was directly taught. At K3, the focus was on change: the children were to apply their previously acquired knowledge by producing toys for all children to share. Analyses of the interview data also revealed that going beyond the school level by partnering with parents in sustainable development had consequences for the school and the wider community. Copyright © 2018 by author and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.
CitationWong, K. S. (2018). Going beyond sorting waste into different bins: Responsible production and consumption of toys. Creative Education, 9(3). Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ce.2018.93031
- Sustainable development
- Hong Kong