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Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Care and Education

Critical Questions, New Imaginaries and Social Activism: A Reader

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Edited By 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 Five: Still Waiting for the Revolution

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FIVE

Still Waiting for the Revolution

Michael O’Loughlin

Much remains to be done to undo societal prejudices against children. While organizations such as Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Education (RECE) have agitated for change in specific areas, the health of the overall ecological infrastructure of contemporary childhood in the U.S. is very troubling. The passing of Maurice Sendak (1928–2012) reminds me how ephemeral our passions and accomplishments are and causes me to worry that the accomplishments of RECE and the many talented individuals who comprise it, too, may be fleeting. Reflecting back on the inaugural RECE meeting at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1991 evokes in me memories of nurturance, hope, possibility, and a perpetual wish for more. Is it possible to thread a movement from such moments? Have we stormed the epistemological barricades? What can a life’s work of child therapy and child pedagogy, teacher education, and writing preserve? In a world of predatory capitalism, ruthless mechanical notions of accountability, and disinterest in the existential and liberatory potential of care and education, for what might we be remembered? Our humanitarian and critical impulses give me optimism, and the reactionary politics of all power structures give me pause. I find the tenaciousness of normative developmental models of childhood discouraging. Has our RECE movement had any lasting influence on policy and practices? Do we have the capacity to stand up to the retrogressive influences that seek to roll back the gains in our...

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