The bicycle model by Cantell et al. (2019) reflects the broad scope and interconnected elements of climate change while emphasizing the action-oriented response represented by education.
Holistic climate change education seeks to deepen learners' understanding of the causes and impacts of climate change by fostering practical application, motivation and active participation of learners in climate change mitigation and adaptation—ultimately compelling individuals to becoming lifelong change agents.
Why teach climate change in early childhood?
Young children in Asia-Pacific are among the most vulnerable to climate change. Early access to comprehensive climate change education boosts their climate-friendly habits and their adoption of lifestyles that adapt to and mitigate climate change for the long term.
Climate-responsive early childhood care and education (ECCE) should aim to strengthen children’s resilience and prepare them to be agents of positive change—for the present and the future.
The Tashkent Declaration and Commitments to Action for Transforming Early Childhood Care and Education (2022) explicitly emphasizes the imperative for member states to promote climate-sensitive early childhood care and education. UNESCO has also recently highlighted the need to develop a climate-responsive and climate-smart education system for Asia and the Pacific.
Nevertheless, ECCE has yet to be included as a key element in Asia-Pacific climate adaptation and mitigation plans. What would embedding climate change education within ECCE look like?
Empowering early childhood instructors to teach climate change with confidence
Climate change education generally starts at the primary level where it focuses on empowering youth as change agents (GEM, 2022).