ERIC Number: ED423075
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Childhood in Europe: Changes in Paradigms in Politics for Children and in Educational Research.
Fthenakis, Wassilios E.
Toward the end of the nineteenth century, legal and sociopolitical sectors began to view children as a social group of their own, and European countries passed laws for the protection of children and introduced compulsory school attendance. This paper asserts that measures like these led to a far-reaching new definition of childhood on a macro-social level, which had numerous effects on children: laws and newly established institutions both cut children off from the world and imprisoned them in their own world in order to prepare them for "real life." Thus, children were decreasingly considered as their fathers' property (as had been the case centuries before) but were increasingly considered as property of the state. This paper examines what conception of childhood current European early childhood education and social politics are based on, and to what extent educational concepts react adequately to the current conception of childhood or what reforms are still required. The paper asserts that the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which considers children as subjects rather than objects, marks a decisive legal revision of the status of children that is of especially high quality. The paper examines various European countries' sociopolitical reactions to the Convention, and then discusses how after some initial restraint, early childhood education and educational research have started to react positively to these changes brought on by the Convention. Contains 34 references. (EV)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child