“Old newspapers from my home”: Storying children's environmental and cultural sustainability

Alison M.C. Li, Janet S. Gaffney, Adrienne N. Sansom, P. W.Doris Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Stories in children's daily lives reflect collective meaning-making and knowledge creation with educators, children, and families. The stories sparked during these collective journeys unveil their shared early childhood experiences (Engel, 2005) and inherited cultural wisdom across generations. Education for sustainable development (ESD) has drawn global interest within the field of early childhood education. UNESCO (2005) defined ESD as a weaving of social, environmental, and economical dimensions for building a sustainable world. In this article, one Hong Kong based case story was selected from a study about children's storying conducted in Aotearoa New Zealand and Hong Kong to illustrate these dimensions. This Old-Newspapers story was situated in storied conversations (Gaffney et al., 2019) among children aged 4-5 in a local kindergarten. Children inquired about the wise use of paper through conversations, experimenting, and play. Old newspapers offered pedagogical resources and inspiration that contributed to children's understanding of environmental sustainability. Besides revealing the shared and co-created learning experiences about, in, and for the environment (Davis, 1998, 2009), this story revived hidden cultural heritage and intergenerational connections in families in the social dimension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-52
Number of pages24
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Research in Early Childhood Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Children's stories
  • Cultural sustainability
  • Early childhood education
  • Education for sustainable development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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