1st Edition

In Search of Social Justice John Bennett's Lifetime Contribution to Early Childhood Policy and Practice

Edited By Nóirín Hayes, Mathias Urban Copyright 2019
    144 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Commemorating the life and work of Dr John Bennett; his lifelong contribution to Early Childhood Education and Care, and his ongoing influence on policy, research and practice in this field, In Search of Social Justice is a tribute to a preeminent scholar and his vision for an equitable and high-quality start for all children.

    Working tirelessly to raise the profile of Early Childhood Education and Care, and prioritise the rights and well-being of children and families in national and international policy, John Bennet played an invaluable role in improving the position of young children globally. In Search of Social Justice takes John’s legacy as a starting point for critical examination of the changing discourse on Early Childhood Education, and argues for the continued relevance of his approach. Drawing on personal reflections, vignettes and testimonials from eminent authors who shared their professional lives with him, the book foregrounds John’s insistence that we must continue to shape policy and provision through inquiry, high-quality evidence, passion and persistence, improving the early experiences of all young children.

    As much a celebration of John’s work and achievements, as a call to collective action towards achieving his vision for equitable, quality early childhood education and care, this is a fascinating read for students, researchers and activists in the field of Early Childhood Education and Care.


    Chapter One: Early Childhood Education and Care:where so much begins - Nóirín Hayes and Mathias Urban

    Chapter Two: Improving policies for young children through comparison and peer review - Michelle J. Neuman

    Chapter Three: Education – a fundamental human right from birth - Eva Jespersen and Marta Santos Pais

    Chapter Four: ‘To aspire toward ECEC systems that support broad learning, participation and democracy’: reflections on John Bennett’s final words on Starting Strong - Peter Moss

    Chapter Five: Social equity and the case of Australia’s Early Childhood Education and Care system reform - Collette Tayler

    Chapter Six: The life of a polymath: shared threads of thinking and action - Professor Tony Bertram and Professor Chris Pascal

    Chapter Seven: Straggling behind: participation of Roma children and employment of Roma staff in Early Childhood Education and Care in Europe - Sarah Klaus

    Chapter Eight: Learning from John to inform the future development of Early Years services in Ireland - Denise Mc Cormilla

    Chapter Nine: Start(ing) Strong’s vision – ECEC in Ireland - Ciairín de Buis and Toby Wolfe

    Chapter Ten: Unexpected meeting, lasting impact - Colette Murray

    Chapter Eleven: Gentle, passionate, and most of all persistent: John Bennett’s Influence on European Union ECEC Policy - Mathias Urban

    Chapter Twelve: Much has been achieved – but now is not the time for complacency - Mathias Urban and Nóirín Hayes



    Professor Nóirín Hayes is Professor Emerita, Dublin Institute of Technology and Visiting Professor, Trinity College Dublin.

    Dr Mathias Urban is Desmond Chair of Early Childhood Education and Director of the Early Childhood Research Centre at the Institute of Education, Dublin City University.