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ERIC Number: EJ1070925
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Sep
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0141-8211
From "Closing the Gap" to an Ethics of Affirmation. Reconceptualising the Role of Early Childhood Services in Times of Uncertainty
Urban, Mathias
European Journal of Education, v50 n3 p293-306 Sep 2015
In this article, I offer a critical enquiry into the landscape of European and international policy approaches and strategies towards young children, their families and communities in a rapidly changing global context. Early childhood has attracted unprecedented attention among policy makers and international bodies in the last two decades. The apparent consensus about the "need to increase participation in early childhood education and care" has been framed mainly by a "human capital" discourse that promises high returns on investment in early intervention, and social cohesion through increased educational achievement. While members of the early childhood research and practice community have welcomed (or actively contributed to) this argument in order to raise visibility and support, questions arise whether policies and practices grounded in this logic are appropriate and make a difference in the lives of children and families, especially those from marginalised backgrounds. Drawing on experiences from recent European and international research projects, this article argues that early childhood policies that aim at "closing the gap" between children from marginalised and dominant groups in society are grounded in a logic of integration and assimilation into an assumed normality that no longer exists. Instead, marginalisation, hyper-diversity, inequality and fragmentation have become the defining feature of all societies. Against this background, the article explores possibilities and strategies for developing "competent systems" for all children, families and communities that are based on democratic practices, recognition and affirmation.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A