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Thinking beyond scientism in early childhood education 
Malvika Agarwal (Western University)
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Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

This panel examines the transformative role of early childhood education in climate crises, promoting collective shifts beyond human-centric models. It critiques techno-scientific solutions and explores alternative pedagogies undertaken to navigate ecological uncertainties.

Long Abstract:

In the face of ecological uncertainties, amplified by an ongoing climate crisis, transformative shifts in societal structures, perceptions, and actions are not just necessary—they are imperative. Education plays a pivotal role in this transformation, serving as a dynamic force capable of making profound impacts by catalyzing responses to the injustices of the climate crisis (Nxumalo, Nayak, & Tuck, 2022).This panel intends to grapple with scientism in early childhood education, and delve into and scrutinize collective actions and responses undertaken by childhood assemblages—scholars, educators, children, and more-than-human entities—actively navigating ecological uncertainties in this manner.

Situated at the crucial intersection of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and early childhood education, this panel embraces thinking as a relational material practice (de la Bellacasa, 2012). Within this confluence, pedagogy emerges as a dynamic social science, continuously evolving and seeking new foundations for thought, steering clear of universal or objective viewpoints on knowledge creation (Delgado, 2020). The panel aims to share narratives and pedagogies that recognize children, yet they extend beyond a merely human-centric model of existence (Spyrou, Rosen & Cook, 2019).

The panel encourages critical examination of techno-scientific solutions, demystifying misconceptions that technology alone will redeem early childhood. It explores how alternative pedagogies and collective practices with children and more-than-human entities can influence climate strategies beyond scientism.

Submitted papers should utilize STS concepts to address ecological uncertainties through early childhood education. Accepted papers may investigate the following:

- Explore speculative ethics (Ashton, 2022) or pedagogies (Vintimilla, 2020) resisting techno-scientific solutions, advocating approaches beyond anthropocentrism.

- Discuss transformational pedagogical approaches in curriculum making.

- Analyze situated collective (van Dooren, 2022) practices by more-than-human assemblages disrupting traditional stewardship in climate action.

- Examine early childhood education's role in offering alternatives to positivist educational models.

- Undertake creative, experiential, and embodied approaches (Manning, 2013).

Accepted papers:

Session 1