1st Edition

Rethinking Environmental Education in a Climate Change Era Weather Learning in Early Childhood

By Tonya Rooney, Mindy Blaise Copyright 2023
    168 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    168 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    As the impact of climate change has become harder to ignore, it has become increasingly evident that children will inherit futures where climate challenges require new ways of thinking about how humans can live better with the world. This book re-situates weather in early childhood education, examining people as inherently a part of and affected by nature, and challenges the positioning of humans at the centre of progress and decision-making.

    Exploring the ways children can learn with weather, this book for researchers and advanced students, works with the pedagogical potential in children’s relations with weather as a vital way of connecting with and responding to wider climate concerns.

    List of Figures


    Part 1: A Weather Learning Project

    1. Introduction
    2. Young children and environmental education 
    3. Part 2: Methods - Thinking, moving and writing with weather

    4. Thinking with weather
    5. Walking with weather 
    6. Writing small weather stories
    7. Part 3: Relations - Weathering with more-than-human worlds

    8. Bodies, atmospheres and affects
    9. Multi-species weather encounters 
    10. Earth and deep weather times
    11. Part 4: Responses – Learning and speculating in a climate change era

    12. Weather learning
    13. Conclusion: An invitation to weather together


    Tonya Rooney is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood and Environmental Education at the Australian Catholic University. She is member of the Common Worlds Research Collective.

    Mindy Blaise is a Vice Chancellor’s Professorial Research Fellow and Co-Director of the Centre for People, Place, and Planet, at Edith Cowan University, Western Australia. She is a co-founder of the Common Worlds Research Collective and #FEAS Feminist Educators Against Sexism.

    Never underestimate the power of small talk! This brilliant book demonstrates how ordinary conversations about weather can create extraordinary opportunities for reconfiguring human relationships with nature and the living world. If you are curious about how we can radically reframe our responses to the environmental crisis through education and beyond, this book is for you.

    Professor Iveta Silova, Associate Dean of Global Engagement at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University.

    Rooney and Blaise invite us into a lively world of child-weather encounters and offer an important new paradigm for environmental education. This book shows us how learning with children with weather can embrace humility, surprise, and delight, without turning away from troubling uncertainties of a climate changing world.

    Associate Professor Astrida Neimanis

    Canada Research Chair in Feminist Environmental Humanities, UBC Okanagan

    Pause, attend, attune, notice – these are the invitations that this extraordinary book offers to readers. Meticulous tracings are presented of weather learning through modalities of doing, walking, writing, making and becoming. Environmental education opens to complexity, vulnerability, and responsibility as we humans come to understand that we are inherently entangled in volatile ecologies and constantly shifting relations with and in the world. This book shows how this urgent work must start in early childhood education. Children’s intimate encounters with weather extend from everyday moments in open spaces and playgrounds to deep time, Indigenous time, colonial time and the ever-present press in these times of human-induced climate change. The authors introduce practices for how we might envisage and work towards new weather worlds and make a significant and fresh contribution to posthuman educational research. 

    Professor Suzanne Gannon, University of Western Sydney

    In rethinking climate change as something "already part of children’s lives", this beautiful book offers an alternative mode for engaging with precarious futures and troubled presents. Whilst grappling with big questions, the authors ground us in small moments and micro sensations of how children and adults experience time, place and climate; as dust in nostrils or rain chilling the surface of the skin, for example. It gently guides us away from the certainty and solutions we are often told are required, inviting us instead to reimagine how we might respond to, learn with or listen to a changing climate. This is a poignant yet hopeful book, where hope is offered outside of a framing of mastery or certainty, through a commitment to ongoing-ness and the understanding that "many worlds are possible."

    Dr Abigail Hackett, Reader, Manchester Metropolitan University.

    As I read outdoors, the wind strokes my cheek along with the sound of bumblebees buzzing in the sunshine. This book makes you pay attention and participate with weather worlds and contributes to an understanding of how we are inter-connected with other worlds, humans and non-humans. By bringing the weather to the fore, the book invites us to consider planetary well-being and care. In an inquiring and inspiring way, the authors offer an alternative way of thinking, learning, and practicing with all encounters in the field of early childhood and environmental learning. This is a book we cannot do without.

    Associate Professor Anne Myrstad, UIT - The Arctic University of Norway

    This transformative book brings climate home via everyday weather, cultivating wisdom for new action-relations. Rooney and Blaise elegantly dissolve borders around ‘the environment’, learning and showing relations already in place, which children already know. Rather than seeing ‘the environment’ as a distinct, separate entity, intentionally renewing weather awareness reveals our place within a living, breathing, participative community of more-than-human beings.

    Associate Professor Sandra Wooltorton, Nulungu Research Institute, University of Notre Dame