Teaching Sustainable Practices as Part of a Holistic Education in the Saudi Context


  • Ahlam Alghamdi
  • James Ernest
  • Fatimah Hafiz


Children of every culture love to hear stories about their heritage. Storytelling creates shared experiences through the combination of time and space (Langellier, 2011). Educators and parents often use storytelling to explore characters, plot, setting, conflict, and resolution or other key elements of a story. From a more holistic view, storytelling is a teaching tool that is a natural way to teach about the environment and ethical and moral obligations to each other; it has the potential to create a social process that supports cultural survival (Rankin, Hansteen-Izora, & Packer, 2007). Storytelling can help maintain a sustainable culture, which is a basic element of a sustainable society (Abdul-Malik, 2012). Supplementing traditional benefits of storytelling, many activities and routines in early childhood lend themselves to broader discussions of sustainability. In this article, we will share an example of how sand and water activities have been used to support sustainable environments in Saudi Arabia. To do this, we explore how transformative and developmentally appropriate activities fit within a Saudi early childhood context, and provide examples of experiences that support a whole child approach to education.