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Thrown Together: Incorporating Place and Sustainability into Early Literacy Education

Journal article
Authors Catarina Schmidt
Published in International Journal of Early Childhood
Volume 49
Issue 2
Pages 165-179
ISSN 0020-7187
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies
Pages 165-179
Language en
Links doi.org/10.1007/s13158-017-0192-6
Keywords Authentic literacy activities, Childhood, Early literacy education, Education for sustainable development (ESD), Place-based pedagogy
Subject categories Pedagogical Work


© 2017, The Author(s). The development of language and literacy abilities of young multilingual children is important to their future educational engagement and success in school. In this study, the value of taking account of place and sustainability in early literacy education is considered. This research provides ideas for practice-based research on early literacy in multilingual and community-based contexts. In a case study with a Grade 1 classroom in Sweden, the researcher and the teacher implemented various literacy activities to bring children’s own powerful knowledge about place into the classroom. This enabled young children to actively engage with language and literacy in authentic and meaningful ways. Early childhood teachers need to be aware of the importance of incorporating ideas about place and sustainability into early literacy education in order to avoid deficit discourses and instead build participatory practices and support democratic values. Bringing literacy and place together in education can address what is perhaps one of the most crucial questions of sustainability, namely how people within a community can live together while having different values, beliefs and dreams.

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