Research area 2: Being and becoming eco-citizens

This research area investigates the connections between science education, gardening, literature, language and pedagogy and is part of the international and interdisciplinary research network Transnational Dialogues for Sustainability (TND). Based on sociocultural learning theories, the WP uses Biesta´s (2010) three dimensions of education-qualification, socialization and subjectification-and other theories of transformative sustainable pedagogy (Goga 2015), to investigate how children experience, act and reconstruct their formal rights as child-citizens, and how they live or ‘act’ as beings or becoming eco-citizens in kindergartens.

The main objective 

The main objective is to document and develop understandings about Norwegian kindergartens practices where the children are understood as both being and becoming eco-citizens. The main objective will be achieved by exploring and challenging understandings about children as being and becoming by investigating the role of agency in children’s eco-citizenship, exploring the interdisciplinary nature of children’s eco-citizenship, investigating the paradox of the teacher-child relationship in eco-citizenship and framing an intergenerational approach to eco-citizenship. 

This research area will undertake the following sets of tasks: 

  1. initial and follow-up survey to identify changes of children and teachers competences, attitudes and everyday practices in relation to sustainability in Norwegian kindergartens. 
  1. intervention in 3-4 kindergartens (Tromsø, Alta, Stavanger and Bergen Municipality) to explore sustainability-related interactions between children, teachers and the environment through the following perspectives; children’s curiosity; the impact of harvesting wild and farmed food on children’s thinking; awareness and agency and the teachers’ role; social and ecological learning through inquirybased outdoor activities; contemporary Norwegian picture books and children’s play in regard to enacting their eco-citizenship. 

We view children as citizens, in their own way, and at the same time as becoming citizens, as adults. Early childhood education centers are not just places for future, becoming citizens. They are places where children stay and live, as beings – as children. How children experience, act and reconstruct their formal rights as child-citizens are hard to know if we do not catch the children’s perspectives. Even though it is uncommon to view children as citizens, it is even less usual to consider them as eco-citizens. 

Eco-citizenship includes the interrelated social and cultural, political, environmental and economic dimensions of sustainability, and acknowledges both humans and other species, intergenerational and indigenous aspects and a critical use of resources. This holistic notion is addressed by researchers like Marsden, Hägglund, Pramling Samuelsson, Davis, Grindheim, and Heggen, as well as by the UNESCO. 

Interdisciplinary collaboration 

Being and becoming eco-citizens is an interdisciplinary collaboration of science education, literature and pedagogy. Researchers in the group are in contact with the international research network Transnational Dialogues in Research in Early Childhood Education for Sustainability (TND). The project will explore, gain knowledge about, and develop practices in Norwegian early childhood education, exploring the understanding of children as both being and becoming eco-citizens. 

Three dimensions of education cultures 

Based on sociocultural learning theories, the study will use Gert Biesta’s theory of three dimensions of education cultures, qualification, socialization and subjectification, and other theories of transformative sustainable pedagogy, to investigate how children experience, act and reconstruct their formal rights as child-citizens, and how they live or ‘act’ as beings or eco-citizens. 

According to Biesta, qualification and socialization are emphasizing the child as becoming a good eco-citizen and subjectification is emphasizing children as beings that have valuable contributions as children. Their contributions are of vital importance to understand and improve didactic democratic practices, and so are cultural artefacts, knowledge and social codes that are already established. 

This project contains three stages

Initially, we will obtain an overview over children’s and adult’s competences, attitudes and everyday practices and their relation to sustainability. Through an intervention in selected pre-schools will we explore the children as being and becoming eco-citizens during pedagogical activities related to food production. Children’s eco-citizenship is investigated in the pre-schools from several perspectives: children’s curiosity, farming and harvesting of wild food, social and scientific learning, literature, post-human perspectives and development of sustainable values. Knowledge and experiences from these studies will be used to explore concepts as agency, inter-disciplinarity, the teacher role, inter-generational and cultural perspectives, and the children’s worldviews. 


PhD students

Master student


Bergan, V. (2019). Hvordan kan økologisk dyrking bidra til bevissthet for bærekraft? I V. Bergan & K. E. W. Bjørndal (Red.), Bærekraft i praksis i barnehagen (s. 99-114). Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. 

Bergan, V. & Bjørndal, K. E. W. (2019b). Barnehagen – første steg mot en bærekraftig utvikling. I V. Bergan & K. E. W. Bjørndal (Red.), Bærekraft i praksis i barnehagen (s. 21-35). Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. 

Bergan, Veronica; Utsi, Tove Aagnes; Krempig, Inger Wallem (2019).Nytter det å lære å sortere søppel? I: Bærekraft i praksis i barnehagen, s. 167-184. Universitetsforlaget, ISBN 9788215028514.  

Grindheim, L. T., Bakken, Y., Gislefoss, T., Hauge, K. H., & Heggen, M. P. (2019). Lekende endrinsgagenter i bærekraftige barnehager. In L. T. Grindheim & G. Aaserud (Eds.), Barnehagelæreren - en verdibygger (pp. 89-106). Bergen: Fagbokforlaget. 

Grindheim, L. T.; Bakken, Y.; Hauge, K. H.; Heggen, M. P. (2019). Early Childhood Education For Sustainability Through Contradicting and Overlapping Dimensions. In A. Hua, L. Miny & I. S. Pramling (eds). Building a Sustainable Future for Our Young Children in China and Nordic Countries. ECNU Review of Education 2 (4), 374-395.  

Hauge, K. H. and M. P. Heggen (2019). "Tverrfaglighet i norsk barnehagelærerutdanning – et forslag til begrepsavklaring." Nordic Studies in Education. 

Heggen, P.M., Sageidet, B.M, Goga, N., Grindheim, L.T., Bergan, V., Utsi, T.A., Wallem Krempig, I., Lyngård, A.M. (2019). Children as eco-citizens? Special Issue. B.M. Sageidet, A. Turmo & C.J.A. Rundgren (Eds.), Sustainability and science education in early childhood. NorDiNa, 15(4), 387-402. 

Sageidet, B.M., Heggen, M.P., Ugelstad, I., Grøsvik, G. & Eikeland, S. (2020). Physical Education and Natural Sciences in Norwegian Early Childhood Teacher Education: Mutually Supporting EfS? Chapter 10 in S. Elliott, E. Ärlemalm-Hagsér & J. Davis (Eds), Researching early childhood education for sustainability: Challenging assumptions and orthodoxiesRoutledge, pp. 125-137, 

Sageidet, Barbara Maria (2019).  ‘World Environmental Education Congresses’ og naturfagenes rolle innen utdanning for bærekraftig utvikling.Nordic Studies in Science Education 2019 (1504-4556) Vol. 15 (4), s. 342-357. 

Sageidet, Barbara Maria; Christensen, Mia; & Davis, Julie (2019). M. Children’s Understandings of Environmental and Sustainability-related Issues in Kindergartens in Rogaland, Norway, and Queensland, Australia. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education 2019 (1306-3065) Vol. 14 (4), s. 191-205. 

Sageidet, B.M. (2019). Pedagogiske metoder for å lære barn om sammenhenger for bærekraftig utvikling. Chapter 3. In Veronica Bergan and Kristin W. Bjørndal (Eds.): Bærekraft i praksis i barnehagen. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, pp. 53-66.   

Utsi, Tove Aagnes; Bøe, Kari Wallem; Krempig, Inger Wallem (2019).Vill mat i barnehagen – kompetanseutvikling i fellesskap. I: Bærekraft i praksis i barnehagens. 115-136, Universitetsforlaget, ISBN 9788215028514.  


Heggen, Marianne Presthus; Sageidet, Barbara Maria; Bergan, Veronica; Goga, Nina; Grindheim, Liv Torunn; Krempig, Inger Wallem; Lynngård, Anne Myklebust; Utsi, Tove Aagnes. 
Being and becoming ecocitizens. Forskerforum BARNkunne, online meeting; 2020-03-20 - 2020-03-20

Utsi, Tove Aagnes; Krempig, Inger Wallem; Bøe, Kari Wallem. 
Hvordan videreføre kunnskap om mat og høstingskultur til barn? FEFO konferanse NANNE/STYRK; 2020-02-04 - 2020-02-05

Krempig, Inger Wallem; Utsi, Tove Aagnes; Bøe, Kari Wallem. 
Vill mat og bærekraft i barnehagen. Forskningsdagene UiT, campus Alta; 2019-09-23 - 2019-09-23

Bøe, Kari Wallem; Utsi, Tove Aagnes; Krempig, Inger Wallem. 
Vill mat - samarbeid og læring i barnehagen. Forskerfrø - barnehage konferanse; 2019-01-04 - 2019-02-05 

Heggen, Marianne Presthus; Sageidet, Barbara Maria; Utsi, Tove Aagnes; Lynngård, Anne Myklebust; Grindheim, Liv Torunn; Goga, Nina; Krempig, Inger Wallem. 
Children as eco-citizens?. EECERA; 2019-08-20 - 2019-08-23.

Bergan, Veronica; Bartnæs, Pernille Elisabeth.
Exploring the kindergarten teacher’s role in garden activities for sustainability – A case study from an Arctic kindergarten. EECERA 29th Conference; 2019-08-20 - 2019-08-23

Bergan, Veronica.
Bærekraft i praksis i barnehagen. Barnehagekonferansen; 2019-06-06 - 2019-06-06

Bergan, Veronica.
Spør meg om utdanning for bærekraftig utvikling. Miniforedrag! Læring og miljø; 2019-09-18 - 2019-09-18

Bjørndal, Kristin Emilie W; Bergan, Veronica.
Bærekraft i praksis i barnehagen - fagseminar. Romsdal Barnehagestevne 2019; 2019-10-07 - 2019-10-07