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SDI301 Sustainable Development by Involvement

Course description for academic year 2022/2023

Contents and structure

Sustainable development is considered a necessity for future humans. Early childhood education practices should build upon values as human dignity, intellectual freedom, love of each other, solidarity, democracy, human rights, ecological responsibility, tradition and future, heritage and diversity, critical thinking and ethical action. These values mirror the democratic, economic, social / cultural and ecological sustainability, considered as the four fundamental pillars of sustainable development. This study is about empowering the children to contribute to sustainable development. We achieve this by working with ecological perspective and through understanding early childhood education as an arena where children with different social, economic, ethnic and cultural backgrounds meet, and become parts of a larger and different community than in their home. The program will qualify early childhood teachers to be co-creators of an equally worthy community of different people, through a broad knowledge of the children's rights and characteristics of an including, rendering inclusion, balance, health promotion and learning environment in the kindergarten (R - 2012). The study shows different ways to work with ecological, economic, social / cultural and democratic sustainability in early childhood education.

The course will focus on how one can initiate the processes of change in cooperation with children in the context of early childhood education. Paradox in relation to education for sustainable development in early childhood education will have a central role in the course. The teaching will be organized in themes and associated with different paradoxes of sustainable development, such as: individual and community, individuality and solidarity, freedom and responsibility, participation and disciplination, local and global, majority and minority countries, gender inequality in a "balanced" society, economy and value, culture and nature, stability and change, harmony and critical attitude, attitude and action, powerlessness and empowerment, and teacher- and child-initiated learning.


Internship, kindergarten practice, is part of the practical training in kindergarten teacher education. Theoretical perspectives and discussions in, about and with kindergarten practice is part of the course. Internship is a learning arena as well as the teaching at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. See mandatory assignments.

Internship includes 10 days

Learning Outcome


The student will have an expanded knowledge on

  • the concept of sustainable development and the paradoxes associated with this
  • the importance of children's experiences of human and nature's interdependencies, and central points connected to climate and ocean
  • the connections between local and global communities and work with sustainable development
  • children's perspective on values in economic sustainability
  • relevant professional content within the four pillars of sustainable development
  • children as citizens and agents of change
  • children's ways to participate and communicate, regardless of age and level of functioning
  • power in ecological, physical and social relations
  • profession thinking in the concepts of qualification, socialization 
  •  political and ideological challenges of the kindergarten teacher profession, as well as in the relations between children and kindergarten teachers


The student is able to

  • lead work in early childhood education in accordance with different input from children, both verbal and physical
  • see, interpret and support children to be co-creators of the early childhood community
  • identify paradox and challenges related to the four pillars in sustainable development, in the daily practice, and when daily practice is connected with global challenges
  • detect conditions, situations or phenomena in the kindergarten that can be used in pursuit of sustainable development
  • conceptualize challenges and values in activities and frameworks in early childhood education
  • conduct philosophical conversations in connection with sustainable development
  • use various tools to promote sustainable development
  • meet requirements for the kindergarten profession based on one's own standards and  professional assessments
  • meet children, parents and collegues in different (and also unexpected) contexts

General competence

The student

  • is able to reflect on their own contribution in interactions with children and staff
  • see children and early childhood education in a local and global context
  • can plan, lead and evaluate interdisciplinary project and development work
  • see democratic participation as relational, procedural and contextual
  • has autonomic, critical and reflective understanding of the particular position the kindergarten profession has in today's society
  • has awareness of power perspectives, and may reflect critically upon their own cultural background and practice

Entry requirements

Students of Early Childhood Education and Teacher Education. Students must have completed 2 years at BA-level before entering the course.

Teaching methods

Sustainable development by involvement is a new theme in kindergarten teacher training and the syllabus will only partially cover relevant topics. Teaching sessions will therefore be directly relevant to the exam. Parts of the teaching is organized as work in study groups, and it is expected that students are actively present at the lessons. Teaching will alternate between disciplinary and interdisciplinary lectures, academic discussions, student presentations, group work, self-study, project work, tutoring and two weeks internship in an early childhood education setting.

Canvas is the name of the Learning Management System in Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, and it is assumed that students use it regularly. Many of the study activities and a lot of knowledge- and information-exchange takes place within Canvas. Students will use Canvas and be active in relation to the use of the college library.


Leadership in kindergarten

In the third year of their studies, students will develop the capacity for educational leadership, lead change and development processes in the kindergarten, and demonstrate that educational management involves professional ethical awareness. Students must focus both on their own professional identity and the kindergarten’s social mandate and be able to reflect on this. Students must develop various aspects of the kindergarten teacher role, such as:

  • standing out as kindergarten teachers and being able to reflect on various aspects of the practice of the profession in general and their specialisation in particular
  • being able to lead the kindergarten as a learning institution
  • improving their general educational skills
  • being able to create an environment which promotes and facilitates play
  • being able to reflect on the balance between goal-oriented educational leadership and dialogue with employees and the balance between taking care of one’s own needs and being considerate to others

A minimum of five days of internship must be completed throughout the period of supervised professional training (autumn and spring) and the focus must be on student evaluation in these areas.

Compulsory learning activities

Overview of the mandatory assignements will be given at the start of the semester, and they are tied to the learning outcomes in the course. Attendance to these mandatory assignments is considered passed, and non-attendance as not passed.

In order to take the exam, students must have completed various mandatory assignments, where

  • 5 are group- and
  • 4 are individual assignments (specified at the start of the study)

Students without approved mandatory assignments gets one (1) new possibility to submit in the same semester. Resubmission must be approved at least three weeks prior to the exam. All mandatory assignments in the folder must be approved to complete the exam.


There is a two-fold individual oral exam. The first part is related to the project work (appr. 50%). The second part is a general examination related to the the entire subject (appr. 50%).

The grading scale is A-F, where F means Failed.

Examination support material

Personlige notater

More about examination support material