Call for Papers - Foregrounding Indigenous Worldviews in Early Childhood


Guest Editor: Dr. Catherine Hamm (Victoria University, Australia)

A number of scholars have made the call for the field of early childhood to engage with political, intellectual and ethical responsibilities (Dahlberg, Moss & Pence, 2007; Lenz-Taguchi, 2010; Pacini-Ketchabaw et al, 2015) as a strategy to complexify taken-for-granted practices within Euro-Western education.  Developmental psychology discourses of children and childhoods have long dominated pedagogical and curriculum practices. Immersed in colonial logic, these practices situate teaching and learning as an individual, linear process (Berk, 2012). This perspective leaves little room to consider everyday moments of learning and teaching as complex, unequal and complicated. In contrast, an Indigenous worldview positions teaching and learning as relational and situated in everyday experiences (Martin, 2007, 2016).  In places of ongoing settler colonialism (such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand), Indigenous worldviews in early childhood education are often hidden within broader multicultural discourses (Pacini-Ketchabaw, Nxumalo, & Rowan, 2014) and can be reduced to tokenistic and ‘grandslam’ approaches (Harrison & Greenfield, 2001)  that homogenise Indigenous cultures. Non-Indigenous educator ‘anxiety’ is often cited as a contributing factor for the absence of Indigenous worldviews in the everyday practices of early childhood programs.

Attending to the ways both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are ‘entangled in the social and ecological legacies of colonization’ (Pacini-Ketchabaw & Taylor, 2015, p. 1), Karen Martin’s (2016) ‘coming alongside’ and Martin Nakata’s (2012) ‘cultural interface’ are useful concepts for foregrounding Indigenous worldviews in teaching and learning. Both these concepts make room for educators to respectfully engage with, ‘refiguring’ Indigenous presences in meaningful ways (Nxumalo, 2015). The practice of learning with, not about, Indigenous worldviews requires authentic, respectful connections to local Indigenous groups and a commitment to engage with the full range of historical, political and ethical contexts relevant to the situated places and spaces where education happens.

In considering settler accountabilities for the early childhood field, the following questions frame possibilities for activating political and ethical teaching and learning practices in places of ongoing settler colonialism; 

How might everyday moments of teaching and learning ‘refigure’ Indigenous presences on unceded lands and territories (Nxumalo, 2015)? How can the field of early childhood work to foreground Indigenous worldviews beyond tokenistic ‘grandslam’ approaches (Harrison & Greenfield, 2001)? How does the field of early childhood enact ethical and political response-able (Haraway, 2008) practices in places of ongoing settler colonialism? What are our ethical and political accountabilities in places of unequal relations (both human and more-than-human)?

Building from these questions, this special issue invites submissions from Indigenous peoples, settlers, and those with other relationships to ongoing settler colonial flows. This issue aims to bring together childhoods and Indigenous worldviews that are not limited by, but respond to:

  • Postcolonial perspectives
  • Decolonising practices
  • Truth and Reconciliation
  • Embedding Indigenous worldviews in early childhood pedagogy and curriculum
  • Moving beyond tokenistic practices
  • Indigenous connection to place and early childhood curriculum
  • Practices that unsettle colonial discourses of early childhood education
  • Disrupting homogenous Indigenous stereotypes
  • Contexts of ongoing settler colonialism and childhoods

Submissions in multiple formats are welcome, for example;

  • research-based,
  • theoretical pieces,
  • arts-informed: visual, performative, poetic,
  • Ideas from Practice - contributions written by educators, pre-service teachers.

Submissions are due May 30, 2018. Please see the author guidelines for submission preparation instructions. Please contact Journal of Childhood Studies with any questions. 


Dahlberg, G., Moss, P., and Pence, A. (2007) Beyond Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care: Languages of Evaluation. United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis.

Haraway, D J. (2008) When Species Meet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Harrison, N & Greenfield, M. (2001) Relationship to Place: positioning Aboriginal knowledge and perspectives in classroom pedagogies. Critical Studies in Education. Vol. 52:1 pp 65-76    

Lenz-Taguchi, H. (2010) Going beyond the theory/practice divide in early childhood education: Introducing an intra-active pedagogy. London and New York: Routledge.

Martin, K. (2007) Ma(r)king tracks and reconceptualising Aboriginal early childhood education: an Aboriginal Australian perspective. In Childrenz Issues. Vol11:1 (pp.21-5).

Martin, K. (2016) Voices &Visions: Aboriginal Early Childhood education in Australia. New South Wales: Pademelon Press.

Nakata, M. (2002) Indigenous Knowledge and the Cultural Interface: underlying issues at the intersection of knowledge and information systems. International Federation of Library Associations Journal. Vol 28 (5-6 ) pp. 281-291.

Nxumalo, F. (2015). Forest Stories: Restorying Encounters with “Natural” places in Early Childhood Education in Unsettling the colonial places and spaces of early childhood education. New York & London: Routledge.

Pacini-Ketchabaw, V., Nxumalo, F., Rowan, M.C. (2014) Researching Neoliberal and Neocolonial Assemblages in Early Childhood Education. International Review of Qualitative Research, Vol. 7, No. 1, Spring 2014, pp. 39–57.

Pacini-Ketchabaw, V., Nxumalo, F., Kocher, L., Elliot, E., and Sanchez, A. (2015) Journeys: Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Practices through Pedagogical Narration. Canada: University of Toronto Press.

Pacini-Ketchabaw, V. & Taylor, A. (2015) (Eds) Unsettling the Colonial Places and Spaces of Early Childhood Education. NY & London: Routledge.