About this paper

Appears in:
Page: 9101 (abstract only)
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.0683

Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain

THE GAIAN EDUCATION PRINCIPLE – A JOURNEY BACK TO THE FUTURE

D. Singh, N. Singh

Chrysalis Group (NEW ZEALAND)
In the context of Early Education, we navigate through teaching and learning approaches from ancient cultures (i.e. storytelling of myths, legends and ways of life) to more recent 40 to 110 year old theories that have influenced the world of early education (including Reggio Emilia, Montessori, Waldorf/Steiner, Pikler). Our work aligns nature-based foundations that add to the richness, uniqueness and value of each existing philosophy. We call this the “Gaian Education Principle”. Gaia is derived from ancient Greek mythology and means "Mother Earth". We adopt the simplicity of its principle and apply this to teaching and learning, identifying key connections with the oldest living entity surrounding us - Earth. Adopting Gaian philosophies in early childhood education recognises and promotes the innovative trials & errors, necessary changes in evolution, protective nurturing & growth, and resilient development & sustainability principles that our Earth has repeatedly demonstrated and proven for over 4.5 billion years.

Examples of Gaian inspired applications are already evident in modern medicine with enhancements over recent decades to incorporate nature-based and ancient eastern holistic practices together with scientific-based methodologies. Gaian inspired thinking can also be seen in modern day engineering through the results of “biomimicry”, which is the study of nature’s 4.5 billion years of successful evolution for innovative solutions to today’s technical problems. However, Gaian links in education philosophies and curricula are currently implicit or embedded rather than explicitly identified as a source of knowledge or as guiding principles in teaching and learning environments. We classify and discuss the Gaian education principle in three interconnecting media:
1) The external education medium - i.e. designs of learning environments that model natural ecosystems of Earth;
2) The internal education medium - i.e. connections that naturally create a sense of well-being, belonging, respect for and inter-relationships with each other and all life on Earth;
3) The core education medium - i.e. intrinsic values, knowledge and outcomes from set curricula that can be exemplified in nature.

We are in an age where scientists can now quantify the impact of the presence of human-kind on the world, and where models can forecast and extrapolate the effects of our continued and growing presence; which currently lead to accelerated pathways for an imbalance in ecosystems, destabilisation of environments and depletion of natural resources. We are also rapidly moving from the "information age" into directions that include:
a) a “consumer age” where our increasing demands for products and rates of waste and consumption of Earth’s resources are overwhelming,
b) a “hybrid age”, where technology is ubiquitous, embedded, and even controlling. A recognition of guiding principles and responsibilities to sustain life itself is presented for our young learners, who are entering these new ages that have been created for them.

We present key connections between the Gaian Education Principle and existing education philosophies. We also reveal, for the first time, the latest early learning environments being designed in New Zealand that are bringing the Gaian Education Principle back to life, where the guiding history of our living Earth is the anchoring foundation preparing our youngest generation for a stable and balanced future.
@InProceedings{SINGH2018GAI,
author = {Singh, D. and Singh, N.},
title = {THE GAIAN EDUCATION PRINCIPLE – A JOURNEY BACK TO THE FUTURE},
series = {11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2018 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-05948-5},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2018.0683},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2018.0683},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {12-14 November, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {9101}}
TY - CONF
AU - D. Singh AU - N. Singh
TI - THE GAIAN EDUCATION PRINCIPLE – A JOURNEY BACK TO THE FUTURE
SN - 978-84-09-05948-5/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2018.0683
PY - 2018
Y1 - 12-14 November, 2018
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2018 Proceedings
SP - 9101
EP - 9101
ER -
D. Singh, N. Singh (2018) THE GAIAN EDUCATION PRINCIPLE – A JOURNEY BACK TO THE FUTURE, ICERI2018 Proceedings, p. 9101.
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