A collaborative project between Kent County Council Early Years and Child Care Service and SchemaPlay was launched in October 2016. The work has initially involved six preschools in developing training resources for Education for Sustainable Citizenship (EfSC). These resources were to be applied across the authority but these initial aims have now been developed further in the collaboration, and the intention is to supplement the work with the development of a more appropriate and comprehensive ESC curriculum auditing tool kit, and a preschool accreditation scheme with the potential of national and even international application. Inequality and underachievement provide a significant barrier to sustainable development and the work carried out has therefore been focused as much on raising effectiveness and outcomes, as on the traditional concerns of developing the foundations of environmental, economic and sociocultural education in early childhood.
Early childhood economics education has been identified as an area in need of development in education for sustainable development. One of the early activities that was therefore developed in the pilot preschools involved the children growing hyacinths for sale to parents at Christmas. The children were then able to decide what to spend the income on to support their playful learning in the preschool. Each child initially ‘bought’ their pot, soil and bulb from a ‘Nursery in the Nursery’, and in many of the settings the children went on to set up a shop for their parents to buy the flowering plants.