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Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Care and Education

Critical Questions, New Imaginaries and Social Activism: A Reader


Marianne N. Bloch, Beth Blue Swadener and Gaile S. Cannella

Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Care and Education is a foundational text, which presents contemporary theories and debates about early education and child care in many nations. The authors selected are leading contributors in discussions about critical early childhood studies over the past twenty years; the editors are long-time scholars in the reconceptualizing early childhood movement. Audiences include students in graduate courses focused on early childhood and primary education, critical cultural studies of childhood, critical curriculum studies and critical theories that have been contested and debated and drawn from over the course of two decades.
The book is filled with recent scholarship by leading authors in the reconceptualization and rethinking of childhood studies and early childhood fields, who discuss foundational debates, new imaginaries in theory and practice and activist scholarship. A must-read for graduate students and professionals interested in beginning or continuing critical interrogations of current early childhood policy and reforms globally.
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Chapter Two: Reconceptualizing the Early Childhood Curriculum: An Unaddressed Topic



Reconceptualizing the Early Childhood Curriculum: An Unaddressed Topic

Shirley A. Kessler

Many years ago, I was intrigued by comments made by Herbert Kliebard during a graduate seminar at the University of Wisconsin (Kliebard, 1980). He said, “Curriculum making is utopia building,” and “all curriculum is made with a view of the future in mind, a utopian vision.” I take these remarks to mean that when we plan a curriculum we have a vision in mind of what we want the future to look like. Additionally, we have a vision of what we want the children we teach to become. While I wrote earlier about “utopian visions” (Kessler, 1991; Kessler & Swadener, 1992), I did not elaborate or further articulate what this idea might mean for the early childhood curriculum and, henceforth, set aside any further research and writing that addresses this important question with regard to curriculum planning. Then, I and others called for a reconceptualization of early childhood education, but not a reconceptualized curriculum. In this chapter I want to return to the question of what a reconceptualized curriculum in early childhood might entail by focusing on four questions curriculum planners must address:1

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