Proselytizing to Toddlers

February 3, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Spelled out, UNESCO’s full name is the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization. I’ve never paid it the slightest bit of attention. But while doing a Google search for something else recently I stumbled across a 135-page document published back in 2008. Its title? The contribution of early childhood education to a sustainable society.

We’re talking about toddlers here. You know, those years in which potty training, shoe tying, and learning to tell the time are all major milestones.

It turns out that UNESCO is on a “quest to achieve sustainable development” – and thinks “our youngest citizens” should be enlisted as foot soldiers (p. 3).

This document is a collection of papers associated with a workshop held in Sweden. A range of topics are discussed and there’s some diversity of opinion. Overall, however, the participants are in general agreement that wholly political ideas such as sustainable development have a place in nursery schools.

Here are some of the creepy declarations to be found within its pages (all are verbatim quotes):

  • educating for sustainability should begin very early in life. (p. 12)
  • Young children can be encouraged to question over-consumption. (p. 13)
  • young children have capacities to be active agents of change now… (p. 20, italics in original)
  • Through their learning and social activism, the children were able to highlight their concerns… (p. 22)
  • even very young children…can be proactive participants…as initiators, provocateurs, researchers and environmental activists. (p. 22)
  • learning begins at birth…and even before. (p. 54)
  • We must find some effective methods of teaching sustainable development that can make children understand deeply, and even shock them out of their unawareness. (p. 85)

Has the UN no decency? Are there no proselytizing-free zones left?

Many jurisdictions frown on advertising that is aimed at children. How, then, can it be OK for green politics to invade child care centers – for innocents to be targeted in their cradles?

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The UNESCO document is backed up here.

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Entry filed under: children, ethical & philosophical. Tags: , .

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