Education for sustainable development in primary school: Understanding, importance, and implementation

Vincentas Lamanauskas 1 * , Daiva Malinauskienė 1
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1 Vilnius University, Vilnius, LITHUANIA
* Corresponding Author
EUR J SCI MATH ED, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp. 356-373.
Published Online: 10 June 2024, Published: 01 July 2024
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There is no doubt that education for sustainable development (ESD) is important because it covers all areas: social, emotional, intellectual, physical, moral, etc. ESD helps people acquire the skills, knowledge, and values necessary for a successful life and a constructive contribution to society. If earlier early ESD was not at the centre of attention, recently it has become increasingly clear that early education has great potential for fostering values, behaviours, and skills that contribute to sustainable development. Despite this, ESD remains problematic due to the inadequate preparation of pre-service primary teachers in this area. It is obvious that ESD implementation in primary education is still poorly integrated.
Empirical qualitative research aimed to reveal how pre-service primary school teachers understand ESD in primary school. Generally, 86 students from two Lithuanian universities, pre-service teachers of preschool and primary education, took part in the research. Verbal research data were analysed using the quantitative content analysis method.
The results suggest that although ESD in early childhood is understood as significant and reasonable, however, the understanding of pre-service teachers is rather one-sided. ESD is understood as social welfare, while the natural and physical environment is the least expressed in their understanding structure. Meanwhile, the implementation of ESD is understood as a normal educational process, applying known techniques and methods. It is necessary to strive for the young generation to be characterised by responsibility, a sense of community, conservation, and citizenship, to understand the harmony of the surrounding world and their activities. For that purpose, changes in the education are needed to integrate the necessary ESD elements, including both managerial and educational processes.


Lamanauskas, V., & Malinauskienė, D. (2024). Education for sustainable development in primary school: Understanding, importance, and implementation. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 12(3), 356-373.


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