Implementation of education for sustainability in the Elementary School: a review

Alline Silva do Vale, Valdenildo Pedro da Silva


Scarce approach to sustainability in basic education will have a significant impact on the prosperous and sustainable future of humanity. Therefore, the aim of this study is to analyze research articles on the implementation of education for sustainability (EfS) in elementary education, published after the approval of 2030 until March 2020. For that, systematic searches were carried out in the SciELO, Google Scholar and ERIC databases, using exclusion processes in several stages, which ended in 10 revised articles. The results pointed to the existence of gaps in the literature on the ways in which EfS has been approached in the context of the elementary school classroom, despite its importance in the current unsustainable situation on the planet. The analyzed articles consider EfS important, because it contributes to change knowledge, values and attitudes towards a sustainable future; moreover, they show difficulties in implementing EfS in everyday educational practices, due to the complexity of implementation, in addition to resistance by some teachers to innovate in educational practice. Therefore, this review can be useful, for informing the current educational approaches related to the implementation of sustainability in elementary education, as well as for proposing innovative practices of EfS at this level of education.


Education for sustainability; Teaching strategies; Elementary School.


Bell, S. (2010). Project-based learning for the 21st century: skills for the future. The Clearing House, 83, 39-43. doi: 10.1080/00098650903505415

Bento, A. (2012). Como fazer uma revisão da literatura: considerações teóricas e práticas. Revista JA, 65 (7), 42-44. Recuperado em: Revisaodaliteratura.pdf

Bernardo, M., & De Pascale, F. (2019). A study on memory sites perception in primary school for promoting the urban sustainability education: a learning module in Calabria (Southern Italy). Sustainability, 11, 6379; doi:10.3390/su11226379

Codina, L., & Lopezosa, C. (2020). Documentación periodística: búsqueda avanzada y bases de datos de prensa 2020. Barcelona, Área de Formatos Digitales.

Diesendorf, M. (2000). Sustainability and sustainable development, in Dunphy,

D, Benveniste, J, Griffiths, A and Sutton, P (eds) Sustainability: The corporate challenge

of the 21st century, Sydney: Allen & Unwin, chap. 2, 19-37.

Freire, S., Baptista, M., & Freire, A. (2016). Sustainability and science learning: perceptions from 8th grade students involved with a role playing activity. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 4 (8), 1757-1763. doi: 10.13189/ujer.2016.040803

Gangotri, D., & Mohan, A. K. (2017). Education for sustainability: perception of teachers and practices in urban primary schools of Mysore. GYANODAYA - The Journal of Progressive Education, 10 (2). doi: 10.5958/2229-4422.2017.00010.X

Gusenbauer, M. (2019). Google Scholar to overshadow them all? Comparing the sizes of 12 academic search engines and bibliographic databases. Scientometrics, 118, 177-214. Doi: 10.1007/s11192-018-2958-5

Huckle, J., & Sterling, S. (1996). Education for Sustainability. London, England: earthscan from Routledge.

IPCC. (2020). The IPCC and the Sixth Assessment cycle. Retrieved from

Jensen, S. (2016). Empathy and imagination in education for sustainability. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, Victoria, 21, 89-105. Retrieved from

Lasen, M., Skamp, K. & Simoncini, K. (2017). Teacher Perceptions and Self-Reported Practices of Education for Sustainability in the Early Years of Primary School: An Australian Case Study. IJEC 49, 391–410. doi:

Miedijensky, S., & Abramovich, A. (2019). Implementation of “education for sustainability” in three elementary schools – what can we learn about a change process. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 15(10), em1754. doi:

Moore, D., Almeida, S., & Barnes, M. (2018). Education for sustainability policies: ramifications for practice. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 43 (11), 105-121. doi:

Moran, J. (2017). Metodologias ativas para uma aprendizagem mais profunda. Educatrix. Dossiê currículo. 7 (12), 1-15. Recuperado em

Moreno-Cadavid, J., Vahos-Mesa, S. V., & Mazo-Muñoz, C. D. (2019). Videojuego para la enseñanza del cuidado del agua. TecnoLógicas. 22 (45), 59-72. doi:

Pereira, A. S et al. (2018). Metodologia da pesquisa científica. [e-book]. Santa Maria. Ed. UAB/NTE/UFSM. Acesso em: 10 maio 2020. Recuperado em

Ripple, W. J. et al. (2017). Warnings from world scientists for humanity: a second warning. BioScience, 67 (12), 1026-1028. doi:

Santagueda, V. M. P., Cantalice, A. S., Silva, A. B., & Mafort, M. E. (2020). Comportamento sustentável: promoção da consciência ambiental por meio de gincana. Research, Society and Development. 9 (2), e177921976. doi: 1

Silva, V. S., & Pontes, J. C. (2020). Educação para a sustentabilidade em currículos da educação básica: implementação e desafios. Brazialian Journal of Development, 6 (5), 30320-30330. Doi:10.34117/bjdv6n5-475

Soto, S., Briede, J. C., & Mora, M. L. (2017). Sensibilización Ambiental en Educación Básica: Una Experiencia de Aprendizaje para Abordar la Sustentabilidad utilizando el Diseño y la Ciencia Ficción. Información tecnológica, 28 (2), 141-152. doi:

Sterling, S. (2010). Learning for resilience, or the resilient learner? Towards a necessary reconciliation in a paradigm of sustainable education. Environmental Education Research, 16 (5-6), 511-528.doi: 10.1080/13504622.2010.505427

Tali Tal, T., & Einat Peled, E. (2017). The philosophies, contents and pedagogies of environmental education programs in 10 Israeli elementary schools. Environmental Education Research, 23 (7), 1032-1053. doi: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1153047

Tilbury, D. (2011). Education for sustainable development: an expert review of processes and learning. Paris, France: Unesco. Retrieved from

Unesco. (2015). Declaração de Incheon: educação 2030: rumo a uma educação de qualidade inclusiva e equitativa e à educação ao longo da vida para todos. Paris: ONU. Recuperado em

United Nations. (2015). Transforming our world: the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. ONU. Retrieved from

Waite, C. (2020). Spotlight on project-based learning: seeing the forest

and the trees. Childhood Education, 96 (2), 30-41. doi: 10.1080/00094056.2020.1733860

World Commission on Environment and Development. (1987). Our common future. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

World Health Organization. (2020). Novel coronavirus: China. Retrieved from



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Base de Dados e Indexadores: Base, Diadorim,, DOI Crossref, Dialnet, Scholar Google, Redib, Doaj, Latindex, Portal de Periódicos CAPES

Research, Society and Development - ISSN 2525-3409

Licença Creative Commons
Este obra está licenciado com uma Licença Creative Commons Atribuição 4.0 Internacional

Rua Irmã Ivone Drumond, 200 - Distrito Industrial II, Itabira - MG, 35903-087 (Brasil)