Call for Papers - Interdisciplinary Dialogues in Early Childhood Environmental Education

  • Journal of Childhood Studies


Guest editors: Dr. Fikile Nxumalo (University of Texas at Austin) and Dr. Nikki Rotas (University of Alberta)

A growing body of work has illustrated the importance of situating environmental education in current precarious times that disrupt idealized notions of both childhood and nature/environment. Drawing inspiration from feminist scholarship and from the environmental humanities, several scholars have critically engaged with ways in which the notion of the Anthropocene, as a current epoch marked by devastating human impact on the earth, necessitates a turn away from romantic conceptions of children and nature (Pacini-Ketchabaw & Taylor, 2015; Malone, Truong & Gray, 2017; Ritchie, 2015). This work supports an orientation towards critical and generative pedagogies that are firmly situated within the messy anthropogenic worlds that young children co-inhabit, and that take seriously the inseparability of nature and culture. Importantly, this work has also taken up the Anthropocene as a contested political marker of current times rather than a neutral scientific fact (Lloro-Bidart, 2016; Colebrook, 2016; Saldanha & Stark, 2016; Tuck & McKenzie, 2014). Taking up the political signification of the Anthropocene in early childhood education includes challenging the figure of the developing human child as future steward – a common trope of nature based education that is rooted in instrumental approaches to teaching and learning (Blaise, 2013; Lenz Taguchi, 2010; Taylor, in press). In addition, methodological attention to ‘how’ Anthropocene discourses manifest in early childhood settings and across disciplinary frameworks is important. How, for example, do environmental education practices materialize in schools and communities? In what ways do current environmental education practices affirm the capacity of students and/or reiterate deficit racialized discourses in schools? How might creative and critical practices ‘presence’ (Simpson, 2011) Indigenous land and communities in present place and time?     

Building from these and other insights on the potential invigorations of bringing interdisciplinary perspectives into conversation with early childhood environmental education, this special issue invites further critical and creative interventions into questions of research and practice in early childhood. In this special issue, we invite papers that reconceptualize environmental education in ways that situate teaching and learning within current environmental precarities, intervene into dominant child-nature discourses, trouble normative methodologies, and unsettle the universalisms and omissions of the Anthropocene. In this regard, submissions are invited that are animated by, but not limited to:

  • Black studies + environmental education + childhood
  • Black/immigrant childhoods in the Anthropocene
  • Indigenous land education + environmental early childhood education
  • Decolonizing place based early education
  • #WaterIsLife + childhood
  • Toxic pollutants + childhood entanglements
  • Discard studies + environmental education + childhood
  • Critical disability studies + environmental education + childhood
  • Queering childhood-nature relationships
  • Speculative practices + creative methodologies in environmental education
  • Material Technologies + Environmental Education + Childhood
  • Arts-based early childhood pedagogies for the Anthropocene
  • Climate change + environmental early childhood education
  • STEM + the environmental humanities in early childhood education
  • Multispecies relations + childhood in the Anthropocene
  • Affect + Environmental Education + Childhood
  • Urban education + the Anthropocene
  • New Material feminisms + environmental early childhood education

We seek submissions that push current boundaries of environmental education with young children by engaging interdisciplinary perspectives in critical, creative and generative ways while disrupting anthropocentric, deficit images of children and families. We welcome submissions in multiple formats, including qualitative and post-qualitative research articles, conceptual essays, digital media pieces, aesthetic works, reviews, and interviews. We also encourage submissions from educators working in early childhood settings for the Ideas from Practice section of the journal. 

Submissions are due August 1, 2017. Please see the author guidelines for submission preparation instructions. Please contact Fikile Nxumalo ( and Nikki Rotas ( with any questions. 



Blaise, M. (2013). Activating micropolitical practices in the early years: (Re)assembling bodies and participant observations. In R. Coleman and J. Ringrose (Eds.) Deleuze and research methodologies, pp. 184–200. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UniversityPress.

Colebrook, C. (2016). ‘A grandiose time of co-existence’: Stratigraphy of the Anthropocene. Deleuze Studies, 10(4), 440-454.

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

Lloro-Bidart, T. (2016). A feminist posthumanist political ecology of education for theorizing human-animal relations/relationships. Environmental Education Research, (23)1, 111-130.

Malone, K., Truong, S., & Gray, T. (2017). Reimagining sustainability in precarious times. Singapore : Springer.

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

Ritchie, J. (2015). Social, cultural, and ecological justice in the age the Anthropocene: A New Zealand early childhood care and education perspective. Journal of Pedagogy, (6)2, 41- 56.

Saldanha, A. & Stark, H. (2016). A new earth: Deleuze and Guattari in the Anthropocene. Deleuze Studies, 10(4), 427-439.

Simpson, L. (2011). Dancing on our turtle’s back: Stories of Nishnaabeg re-creation, resurgence, and a new emergence. Winnipeg: Arbeiter Ring Publishers.

Taylor, A. (in press) Beyond stewardship: Common world pedagogies for the Anthropocene, Environmental Education Research.

Tuck, E. & McKenzie, M. (2014). Place in research: Theory, methodology, and methods. New York: Routledge.