Sustainability Education in Elementary Classrooms: Reported Practices of Alumni from a Pre-Service Teacher Course

Eileen G. Merritt 1 , Leanna Archambault 1  and Annie E. Hale 1
  • 1 Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and Biodesign Institute, United States of America


The article reflects results from a web-based survey of early career teachers who had taken a required, hybrid course focused on sustainability science. Many alumni reported early efforts to integrate sustainability topics and ways of thinking into their K-8 classrooms. Teachers reported modeling of classroom behaviors that promoted sustainability more than implementing sustainability into the curriculum. Read-aloud books and videos were used frequently, suggesting the need for available high quality children’s books and videos on sustainability topics. Supports that were most helpful to teachers included school-wide initiatives, curricular and instructional resources, like-minded colleagues and supportive administrators. Lack of time and alignment with curricula were barriers that hindered some teachers’ progress, suggesting the importance of systemic curricular reform that brings awareness to the Sustainable Development Goals.

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