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Integrating Indigenous Ecological Knowledge into Early Childhood Education in Boania Primary School, Ghana

Date

2021-07-14

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Thesis

Degree Level

Doctoral

Abstract

In the context of Ghana and more broadly sub-Saharan Africa Western content dominates Indigenous content in early childhood education. As a result, there are increasing calls to Indigenize Early Childhood Care and Development in Ghana and sub-Saharan Africa. Coupled with increasing levels of environmental degradation these calls have centered on Indigenous Ecological Knowledges. The idea is that when integrated into early learning, Indigenous Ecological Knowledges will among other things decolonize Early Childhood Care and Development and also enhance sustainability outcomes in children by connecting them to the environment. However, few studies have examined the methodological framework for integrating Indigenous content into early learning in Ghana. To integrate Indigenous Ecological Knowledges into early childhood education, two different knowledges, Dominant Western Knowledge and Indigenous Ecological Knowledge, are being brought together. Hence there exists the possibility of one knowledge dominating the other. Therefore, this research adopted a two-eyed seeing Indigenous methodology to integrate Indigenous Ecological Knowledge into Early Childhood Environmental Education in Boania Primary School in Northern Ghana. As the holders of Indigenous knowledge, two Indigenous Elders helped to integrate the local Indigenous Ecological Knowledge into Kindergarten two (KG2) environmental studies topics by visiting the school to teach and take children out on outdoor learning activities. The main purpose of this study was to find out how Indigenous Ecological Knowledge can be integrated into Early Childhood Environmental Education curriculum and pedagogy in one rural primary school in Ghana to determine if Indigenous Ecological Knowledge could help resist the continuous domination of Early Childhood Education by Dominant Western content without privileging one form of knowledge over the other. Data were collected by using multiple methods of document analysis, participant observation, and in-depth interviews. The findings revealed that the integration of Indigenous Ecological Knowledge into Early Childhood Education improves learning outcomes by taking environmental studies outdoors and making learning more practical and experiential. Also, the two-eyed seeing methodology adopted provided a framework that prevented the further privileging of Dominant Western Knowledge over Indigenous Ecological Knowledge.

Description

Keywords

early childhood education, environmental education, sustainability, Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous ecological knowledge, dominant western knowledge, two-eyed seeing Indigenous methodology, decolonization, knowledge domination.

Citation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Department

Educational Foundations

Program

Educational Foundations

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