SUSTE – Sustainable Stories in Early Childhood Education and Care

The project SUSTE aims at professional development of sustainability competences through multimodal storytelling in the context of ECEC. The research focus is the mutual learning processes of participating practitioners, student teachers and researchers. The project has two phases: 1) to study how sustainability is currently envisioned and enacted in Finnish ECEC; 2) to arrange research circles, tutoring, workshops, and seminars for practitioners and student teachers.

The expected outcomes of the project are to prompt the development of new sustainability theories and practices, and enhance further dialogue between researchers and practitioners. Nordic perspectives of ECEC, contemporary aesthetic theory and arts-based practices, relational ontology and epistemology, and critical phenomenology influence the project.


The project is financed 2018-2020 by the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland. The project has a reference group including researchers from Stockholm University, University of Gothenburg, and Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

The project has following collaboration partners for research practice and development of Early Childhood Education and Care education and professional practice:

Nordic Culture Point (Helsinki) 

Regional State Administrative Agencies

Förlaget (Information in Swedish)

KOHUR (Information in Swedish)

Paper presentation Developing sustainability education in Finnish ECEC – merging bits and pieces at EECERA2019, 20-23.8 2019 in Thessaloniki 

Paper presentation Desires of the other. Multimodality and aesthetics in sustainability education at EECERA2019, 20-23.8 2019 in Thessaloniki 

Paper presentation Sustainability education in Finnish early childhood Teacher Education. Why does policy fail? at EECERA2019, 20-23.8 2019 in Thessaloniki 

Paper presentation Sustainable Stories at Seminar on Sustainability in Teacher Education, 6.5 2019 in Helsinki

Presentation of SUSTE Research at HELSUS post doc meeting. 15.4 2019. 

Presentation of the SUSTE project at HELSUS seminar 28.2 2019.

Paper presentation Narrativa och estetiska lärprocesser som hållbarhetspedagogik för de yngsta barnen at Nordic Conference on Environmental and Sustainability Education 2018, 25-26.10 2018 in Örebro

Paper presentation Sustainable Stories – Arts based storytelling and children´s learning about sustainability at Arts, Skills, and Future Learning, 12.10 2018 in Helsinki


Upcoming: Kaihovirta, H. & Furu, A-C. (2020). Literacy Learning as Rethinking and Embodied Experiences in Early Childhood Education Practice. (In progress)

Furu, A-C. (2019). Narratives on sustainability and sloyd in Finnish ECEC. Nordic Studies in Education, 39 (3) 198-213. 

In January-March 2019 Ida-Lina Nyholm functioned as assisting teacher in the co-teaching course Visual Communication and Visual Arts (5 ECTS) and Children's Literature and Drama (5 ECTS) in student teachers Early Childhood and Care program. She will also function as assisting teacher in early spring 2020. In September-November 2019 Maj Åberg-Hildén function as a project assistant and assisting teacher in Early Childhood and Care adult education for teachers in practice.

During autumn 2019 SUSTE will support the course Music and Movement (5 ECTS), teacher Christa Koski, with multimodal activities in Early Childhood and Care Education. In November 2019 the contemporary artist Simon Gripenberg will make a pop-up AiR visit in Teacher Education in the course Crafts & Sloyd (5 ECTS) in the Early Childhood Education and Care program.

On Thursday  24.10  at 4pm to 6pm, (ROOM 208 Aurora) Tarja Häikiö Karlsson from Göteborg universitet gives a lecture with the title Ekologisk förskola – hållbar framtid och Global Water Day - arbete med föroreningar och plastavfall. Welcome!