Considering the places, the geographies, of children’s learning, of human learning, is fundamental to seriously considering not only the “whats” or the content of learning but perhaps more importantly the “whys” and the “hows” of learning and the overall goals of education. The whys and hows of education construct what is deemed relevant and irrelevant as well as what is rendered invisible to the “here and now” to children’s lives (Apple, 2004; Iorio & Parnell, 2015; Nxumalo et al., 2011; Tesar, 2015). We argue in our work that issues of place, and relevancy to the “here and now”, is always intertwined with constructions of relations between the human world and the more than human natural world and the ways in which culture, history, and power shape these constructions. With this, we must consider ways in which human and more-than-human relations inform the design of learning environments toward thriving, more just futures.

Author Biography

Anna Lees

Anna Lees (Waganakasing Odawa, descendant) began her career as an early childhood classroom teacher in rural northern Michigan and is currently an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education. Anna works to sustain reciprocal relationships with Indigenous communities, expanding Indigenous values and ways of knowing and being in early childhood and teacher education. She engages research and community design around land education and curriculum development with Indigenous early learning programs in informal and formal settings.

Megan Bang

Megan Bang (Ojibwe and Italian descent), professor of learning sciences and psychology at Northwestern University. Bang studies dynamics of culture, learning, and development with a focus on the complexities of navigating multiple meaning systems in more effective and just learning environments. She is currently focused on teaching and learning about complex socioecological systems and their intersections with power and historicity. She conducts research in formal and informal learning environments and utilizes participatory methods with communities.



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