1st Edition

Literature and Philosophical Play in Early Childhood Education A Humanities Based Approach to Research and Practice

By Viktor Johansson Copyright 2019
    148 Pages
    by Routledge

    148 Pages
    by Routledge

    Literature and Philosophical Play in Early Childhood Education explores the role of philosophy and the humanities as pedagogy in early childhood educational research and practice, arguing that research should attend to questions about education and growth that concern social structures, individual development, and existential aspects of learning. It demonstrates how we can think of pedagogy and educational practices in early childhood as artistic, poetic, and philosophical, and exemplifies a humanities-based approach by giving literature and artful play a place in shaping the ground of practice and research.

    The book explores a range of alternative approaches to theory in education and the feasibility of a curriculum of moral values for young children and contains a variety of scenes involving children’s play and involvement with literature and fiction. It portrays how engaging with children’s play can be a philosophical and pedagogical investigation where children’s own philosophising is taken seriously, where children’s thoughts are put on a par with established research and philosophy. Moreover, the book engages with a range of different forms of literature – picture books, novels, auto-fiction, poetry – and develops these as portrayals that serve as a basis for non-theoretical and poetic pedagogical research.

    Literature and Philosophical Play in Early Childhood Education will be of great interest to academics, researchers, and post-graduate students in the fields of philosophy and education. It will also appeal to upper-level undergraduates, school psychologists, teachers, and therapists.


    Introduction: There are Stories

    1. The State of the Learning Soul: Literature and in and as Educational Research

    2. An Entangled Life with Children’s Existential Perplexity

    3. Platonic Caves, Educational Lies, and Good Enough Mothering

    4. Fiction and Reality in Children’s Artful Play

    5. Passionate Immediacy and Dinosaur Philosophy

    6. Wildly Wise in the Terrible Moment

    7. A Plea for a Literary Posthumanism Between Theory, Narrative, and Life

    8. The Motherly Poetry of Pedagogy


    Viktor Johansson, PhD, is Senior Lecturer in Pedagogy at Södertörn University in Sweden. He has worked on issues in philosophy of education, in particular on the role of children’s literature in philosophy and early childhood education, as well as on pedagogical relations between children and adults.

    "In a world saturated, burdened even, by educational facts and figures, Johansson reminds teachers of the wisdom of children’s stories, and of the stories that children tell. Literature and Philosophical Play in Early Childhood Education offers a pedagogical poetry for each and every teacher, in any educational context, to enrich the curriculum, and to enrich the ways in which they make sense of their lives as pedagogues through poetic questioning."

    Dr Andrew Gibbons, Associate Professor, AUT University, New Zealand.

    "For all those interested in the educational role of philosophy (both as theory and as practice) and, more generally, in the relationships between education, philosophy and childhood, Literature and Philosophical Play in Early Childhood Education is an endless source of inspiration and questioning. Full of artistic and poetical testimonies, this book not only explores what a philosophical education of childhood could look like, but also and mainly what form a childhood of a new philosophical education would have: one informed by the art and joy of listening and attention to childhood."

    Walter Omar Kohan, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.