With shadows, dust and mud: Activating weathering-with pedagogies in early childhood education
Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood
School of Education
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Partnership Development Grant
© The Author(s) 2020. In response to the perception that climate change is too abstract and its consequences too far-reaching for us to make a difference, recent feminist environmental humanities scholars have drawn attention to connections that can be forged by noticing the intermingling of bodies, relations, materials, places and movements in the world. Inspired by these ideas, Tonya Rooney has proposed that there is potential in working with child–weather relations as a pedagogical response to making climate change more connected and immediate for young children. Mindy Blaise and her colleagues have also shown how ‘matters of fact’ dominate early childhood teaching, and call for new pedagogies that attend to ‘matters of concern’, such as climate change. In this article the authors build on these ideas by drawing also on María Puig de la Bellacasa’s suggestion that we extend our concern to ‘matters of care’ as an ‘ethically and politically charged practice’. The authors report on their work with educators and children in an Australian-based preschool where they have started to engage with matters of concern and matters of care to create new types of pedagogies that they call ‘weathering-with pedagogies’. These are situated, experimental, embodied, relational and ethical, and, the authors suggest, reflect a practice of care, thus providing young children with new ways of responding to climate change. The authors take as their starting point Donna Haraway’s invitation to ‘muddy the waters’ as a way to stir up the possibilities, tensions and challenges in doing such work.