Perceptions and Attitudes of Early Childhood Teachers in Korea About Education for Sustainable Development

Eunhye Park, Heejin Kim, Sunyoung Yu

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8 Scopus citations


This study investigates the perceptions and attitudes of Korean early childhood teachers about education for sustainable development (ESD). A total of 301 Korean early childhood teachers participated in a survey which was purposefully developed for this research. The survey focused on three areas of interest: understanding of concepts about sustainable development and ESD; importance for ESD in early childhood education and the implementation of ESD practices; and personal intentions about a sustainable lifestyle. The teachers who participated were recruited from kindergartens and day-care centers. Overall, findings suggested that the majority of teacher respondents had reasonable understanding about sustainable development and ESD from different knowledge sources. The teachers considered that ESD in early childhood education was very necessary or fairly necessary. However, 59 % of teacher respondents had not implemented any ESD programs or activities. Of those teachers who had implemented activities then, commonly, this activity was circle-time discussions. The teachers indicated positive intentions about personal practices for a sustainable lifestyle. These personal values that teachers held make it more likely that they would implement ESD programs in their classrooms. However, teachers need to be provided with opportunities for professional development to increase their knowledge about how ESD programs are designed and implemented effectively with young children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-385
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Early Childhood
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Early childhood education
  • Education for sustainable development (ESD)
  • Korea
  • Sustainable development
  • Teacher attitudes


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